Morning Brief

The Nasdaq is just a few points away from a closing record

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning on the first day of spring. The Nasdaq hit an intraday high last week, but failed to close at a record. The Dow and S&P 500 were also both less than 1 percent from new closing highs. (CNBC)

Oil prices were falling sharply this morning as rising U.S. drilling activity and steady supplies from OPEC countries, despite touted production cuts, pressured already-bloated markets. (Reuters)

FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers are set to testify this morning at an open congressional intelligence committee hearing about their investigations into possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign and Trump's unsubstantiated Obama wiretapping claims. (Reuters)

Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, is expected to face questions this week about his judicial philosophy. His confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee starts this morning. (WSJ)

House Speaker Paul Ryan is expressing confidence about passage this week of the GOP's Obamacare replacement bill, saying changes were being made to address remaining concerns. (WSJ)

The U.S. remains committed to free trade but wants to re-examine some trade deals and correct their excesses, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, after G20 finance chiefs backtracked on past commitments. (Reuters)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates meets with President Trump at the White House today, a few months after an initial meeting with Trump in December. (

Jeff Jones, the president of Uber, is quitting after less than a year due to the multiple controversies at the ride-hailing firm, including explosive charges of sexism and sexual harassment. (Recode)

Mobileye (MBLY) is reportedly not locked into last week's $15 billion takeover deal with Intel (INTC). The maker of self-driving technology may be looking for a higher offer. (NY Post)

Intel has debuted products based on its newest memory technology, more than a decade in the making, which closes the gap between conventional and flash memory. (WSJ)

IBM (IBM) has introduced a new service to allow companies to build applications in IBM's cloud using blockchain code, the record of transactions technology that emerged as the system running bitcoin. (CNBC)

Cowen still has an outperform rating on Apple (AAPL) but raised its price target on the stock to $155 per share from $135, saying current consensus estimates for the tech giant remain far too low. (CNBC)

The personal information of tens of thousands of customers of Saks Fifth Avenue has been publicly available in plain text online. Saks is owned by Canada-based Hudson's Bay. (BuzzFeed)

Walt Disney's (DIS) live-action "Beauty and the Beast" setting a March opening record with $170 million in North American ticket sales and another $180 million internationally. (AP)


In the absence of economic reports and major earnings, investors get Fed commentary today with CNBC interviews of Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari at 8 a.m. ET and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker at 9:40 a.m. ET. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks at 1:10 p.m. ET.

Pay raises are back in style in the corner office, wiping out cuts from a year earlier and pushing CEO compensation to new highs amid a surging stock market, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.


Chelsea Clinton has joined the 14-member board of Expedia (EXPE), the travel site controlled by Barry Diller. Clinton is also a board member at Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC).

Unilever (UL) is set to sell some of its food brands for nearly $7.5 billion, according to media reports, following the rejection of its $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz (KHC) last month.

Transocean (RIG) struck a deal to sell 15 drilling rigs to Norway's Borr Drilling for $1.35 billion. The deal includes 10 rigs already in Transocean's fleet and five under construction.

PPG Industries (PPG) may have a renewed chance of buying Dutch rival and paint maker Akzo Nobel. Activist investor Elliott Management, which owns a stake in Akzo, is pushing for talks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

MoneyGram (MGI) offered to share confidential information with suitor Euronet Worldwide (EEFT), which made a $1 billion offer last week even though MoneyGram already has a deal with Alibaba (BABA) affiliate Ant Financial.

Abbott Labs (ABT) said new guidelines just put in place should yield better results for a new stent, which showed significantly higher adverse events in patients than those treated with Abbott's Xience stent.


The Sweet 16 is set, but No. 2 seed Duke won't be playing after they were knocked out by No. 7 South Carolina. No. 1 seed North Carolina is still in the hunt after almost blowing a big lead against No. 8 seed Arkansas. (USA Today)