Morning Brief

Warren Buffett bullish on economy as Wall Street looks for more records

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were indicating a bit of caution this morning, with President Donald Trump scheduled to address a joint session of Congress tomorrow night. But the Dow is riding an 11-session win streak for the first time since 1992, and 11 record closes in a row for the first time since 1987. (CNBC)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC he more than doubled his holdings in Apple between the start of 2017 and the tech company's most recent earnings report. At this point, Buffett owns $17 billion worth of Apple stock.

Stock prices are "on the cheap side" with interest rates at current levels, Buffett also told CNBC on Monday. He said he put $20 billion into the market since just before the presidential election. Buffett joins CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning until 9 a.m. ET

Buffett released his closely-watched annual letter on Saturday, telling investors that Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) gains would continue to be "substantial" in the coming years and the U.S. economy would continue its "miraculous" boom.

Donald Trump prepares to address a joint session of Congress and the nation tomorrow night saddled with the lowest approval ratings of any new president in modern American history, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll shows.

Trump is expected to sign a new refugee and immigration executive order on Wednesday, one day after addressing lawmakers at a joint session of Congress. (AP)

Ahead of Tuesday's speech, Trump is expected today to demand major cuts to the EPA and State Department to fund boosts to military spending in his first budget, according to multiple reports. (The Hill)

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is headed toward confirmation as Commerce secretary. The Senate is set to vote on his nomination tonight. (AP)

The president's pick for secretary of the Navy has pulled out from consideration, the second time a Trump nominee to lead one of the armed services bowed out because of government conflict-of-interest rules. (Reuters)

Trump's new administration risks setting off a round of potentially destabilizing trade tensions if China is named a currency manipulator, economists and currency strategists told CNBC.

Trump said he won't attend the White House Correspondent's Association Dinner, an annual parade of celebrities, journalists, and politicians that in recent years has drawn fire for being too opulent and self-indulgent. (CNBC)

From Trump-jabs by host Jimmy Kimmel to the mistakenly announced best picture award for "La La Land" when "Moonlight" actually won, the Oscars show on Walt Disney-owned ABC last night was full of controversy. (CNBC)

U.K. accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers has apologized for its role in the Academy Awards drama over the best picture fiasco. "The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope," PwC said. (CNBC)

Europe's biggest tech showcase, Mobile World Congress (MWC), kicked off in Barcelona today with global smartphone makers launching devices. But the notable absence was a flagship smartphone from embattled Samsung. (CNBC)

Sony (SNE) has announced a $1,587 projector that turns any surface into a touchscreen, and the first ever smartphone with a 4K high dynamic range screen. (CNBC)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit will implement its digital assistant to all smartphones running the latest version of the Android operating system, not just phones made by Google. (CNET)

AT&T (T) announced two new optional "unlimited" wireless plans today, joining a recent wave of unlimited-mania. (USA Today)

Japanese telecom giant SoftBank is close to finalizing a $3 billion-plus investment in shared workspace firm WeWork, a source told CNBC, valuing the U.S. startup at $20 billion.

The nearly $30.7 billion merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Borse has been thrown into doubt after the U.K. exchange said it would not be able to meet a last-minute antitrust request from the European Commission. (CNBC)

Cuts, announced in January, seen shrinking the bonus pool by about 80 percent at Deutsche Bank (DB) have so far not led to a mass exodus of employees, one of its board members told a German weekly newspaper.

Japan's Takata may reverse policy and move to set up a compensation fund to pay damages in cases of injury or death because of faulty airbags made by the firm, drawing on a similar plan used by General Motors in 2014 related to deficient ignition switches.

A series of bills in at least four U.S. states, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, and Tennessee, could prevent Uber or Google from operating self-driving cars. The measures would only allow a network of self-driving cars to operate on public roads if the cars were owned by an automaker. (Recode)

Wal-Mart (WMT) is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with rivals like Kroger. (Reuters)


The week begins with two major economic reports, starting with January durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. ET. At 10:00 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors is out with January pending home sales, the monthly measure of home sale contracts signed but not yet closed.

Only a handful of earnings reports are on the docket this morning, including American Tower (AMT), Gogo (GOGO), Sotheby's (BID), and Tegna (TGNA). Meanwhile, Hertz Global (HTZ), Priceline Group (PCLN), and Perrigo (PRG) are among the companies set to release quarterly numbers after this afternoon's closing bell.

Harley-Davidson (HOG) is the subject of a bearish Barron's article, with the magazine saying that slowing sales and a strong dollar could weigh on the motorcycle maker's stock.

Boston Beer (SAM) also gets a negative mention in Barron's, saying growing competition that has weighed on recent results are likely to continue into 2017.


Citigroup (C) is being investigated over its hiring practices, according to a SEC filing by the bank. The probe is focusing on whether preferential treatment was given to foreign government officials.

AT&T (T) has struck a joint venture deal with General Electric (GE) unit Current, aimed at connecting cities to the industrial internet.

Sony (SNE) sales of its virtual reality headset came to just under a million in its first four months on the market. Analysts tell Reuters that pace may be too slow to spur developers to come up with new software for the PlayStation VR.

The bidding for Kate Spade (KATE) is into its second round, with Reuters reporting that Michael Kors (KORS) and Coach (COH) among the companies still in contention to buy the handbag and accessories maker.

Under Armour (UAA) was downgraded to "reduce" from "neutral" at Nomura Securities, with the price target for the athletic apparel maker cut to $16 per share from $27.


Bill Paxton, who had memorable roles in blockbusters "Apollo 13" and "Titanic" as well as HBO's "Big Love," has died from complications following heart surgery. He was 61. (AP)

Joseph Wapner, the retired Los Angeles judge who presided over "The People's Court" during the heyday of the reality courtroom show, died Sunday at age 97. (AP)

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