Morning Brief

Markets await Yellen speech

Key Points


Cautious trading is likely ahead of a speech today by Fed chair Janet Yellen in New York, with investors focused on any possible clues as to the latest outlook on interest rate increases. That speech takes place at the Economic Club of New York at 12:20pm ET. (CNBC)

U.S. stock index futures indicated a negative open on Tuesday, following the lowest trading volume session of the year on Monday. (CNBC)

Oil prices were lower on Tuesday as investors anticipated another build in U.S. crude stockpiles and as confidence in a rally since January began to fade. (Reuters)

A hijacker believed to be strapped with explosives took control of an EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo on Tuesday. Several foreigners are still on the plane, according to the Egyptian civil aviation minister. The hijacker released the crew and most of the passengers after the flight was diverted to Cyprus. (CNBC)

A man was shot and wounded by police at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Monday after he pointed a gun at officers, police said. The suspect and a female bystander, who suffered wounds, were taken to the hospital. (CNBC)

Belgian authorities released citizen journalist Faycal Cheffou after concluding they did not have enough evidence to detain him on charges of terrorism in connection with last week's attack on the Brussels Airport. Police are still seeking a third bomber seen in security footage. (NY Times)

The Justice Department said Monday it has accessed data on the iPhone used by a shooter in last year's San Bernardino, California attacks and no longer needs Apple's (AAPL) help in cracking it. (CNBC)

Brazil's largest party is expected on Tuesday to break away from President Dilma Rousseff's coalition, party leaders said, raising the odds the leader will be impeached amid a corruption scandal. (Reuters)

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says investors should not expect the ride-hailing service to IPO any time soon. In an interview with CNBC, he said "I'm going to make sure it happens as late as possible." (CNBC)

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on Monday said it has increased its ownership stake in Wells Fargo to 10 percent. Berkshire owns shares of Wells Fargo (WFC) worth about $24.7 billion, mainly through subsidiaries, according to SEC filings. (Reuters)

The first independent assessment of embattled blood testing start-up Theranos found the company's tests returned irregular results more often than those conducted by the two largest U.S. diagnostics firms. (NY Times)

Federal prosecutors have charged former partner at PJT Partners Andrew Casperson with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud investors for up to $95 million. (NY Times)


Yellen is the most prominent of today's Fed-related speakers, but San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan also have public appearances today.

While Wall Street awaits the latest Fed-related pronouncements, investors will have several economic reports to consider.

The January Case-Shiller report on home prices is out at 9 a.m. ET, with economists looking for a 5.8-percent year-over-year increase.

The Conference Board will be out with the March Consumer Confidence Index at 10 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for an increase to 93.8 from February's 92.2.

Home builder Lennar (LEN) and spice maker McCormick (MKC) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, while Dave & Buster's (PLAY), Restoration Hardware (RH), and Verint Systems (VRNT) are among the companies set to release earnings reports after today's closing bell.


Yahoo (YHOO) is among our stocks to watch, with the Wall Street Journal reporting the company has given possible suitors until April 11 to submit bids for its assets. Yahoo is said to be shopping both the core web business and its stakes in Alibaba (BABA) and Yahoo Japan.

SunEdison (SUNE) faces an SEC probe over its liquidity disclosures to investors, according to the Wall Street Journal. The paper said the solar power company is being investigated over whether it overstated its liquidity in a disclosure to investors last fall.

Virgin America (VA) continues to be on watch today, after multiple reports Monday said JetBlue (JBLU) and Alaska Air (ALK) were planning bids for their rival airline. Reuters is also reporting that various Asian airlines may also be interested in Virgin America.

Sears (SHLD) CEO Edward Lampert is buying some of the retailer's debt, according to Reuters. Lampert is said to have bought a portion of a new $750 million loan, which Sears is using to pay down some of its older debt.

Foot Locker (FL) will join the after the close of trading on Friday. The athletic footwear and apparel retailer will replace oilfield services company Cameron International (CAM), which is being acquired by Schlumberger (SLB). DCT Industrial Trust (DCT), a REIT specializing in industrial properties, will replace Foot Locker in the S&P MidCap 400.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) shares are rising as a court battle escalates between founder Steve Wynn and ex-wife Elaine. She is accusing Steve Wynn of reckless behavior and engineering her ouster from the casino operator's board.


Chick-fil-A has the most loyal fast food chicken customers,while Taco Bueno commands the hearts and minds of Mexican food patrons. Those are just two of the quick-serve restaurants that topped their categories in terms of loyalty, according to a study of mobile data by Market Force. (CNBC)

I scream, you scream — ice cream makers are screaming at the cost of a key ingredient. The price of vanilla beans has surged in the last 12 weeks following a disappointing harvest in Madagascar. (CNBC)