Morning Brief

Dow looks to become last of Big 3 to turn positive for March

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning after the S&P 500 joined the Nasdaq in the green for March. The Nasdaq closed at record high Thursday. The Dow rallied within 84 points of breakeven for the month. (CNBC)

On today's final day of the first quarter, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were set to post strong gains since January. The Dow and S&P were on six quarter win streaks. The Nasdaq was up three straight quarters. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump is expected to sign two executive orders today; one commissions a report on practices that contribute to the trade deficit and another seeks better collection tariffs. (CNBC)

The United States will no longer bow to the rest of the world on trade because President Donald Trump plans to act in the decades-long trade war, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC.

Trump set the tone for a tense first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week by tweeting the U.S. could no longer tolerate massive trade deficits and job losses. (Reuters)

Former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn has told the Senate Intelligence Committee he's willing to testify about the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia in return for immunity from prosecution. (NBC News)

Trump is facing new questions about political interference in the Russian election meddling investigations following reports that White House officials secretly funneled material to the House intelligence chairman. (AP)

Sens. Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp said they would vote in favor of putting Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, becoming the first Democrats to support Trump's nominee. (WSJ)

Apple (AAPL) won a victory today in its fight to prevent banks from getting their own mobile payment services on Apple devices. An Australian regulator barred lenders from bargaining collectively for access. (Reuters)

Apple has hired a veteran product manager from YouTube and Spotify to help shape the company's video strategy. (The Information)

Verizon (VZ) is planning to launch its own online TV service, and it's been buying streaming rights from a variety of TV networks in advance. Rivals AT&T (T) and Dish (DISH) already have similar services. (Reuters)

Broadcom (AVGO) and PE giant Silver Lake Partners have reportedly offered $17.9 billion for Toshiba's chip unit. There are approximately 10 bidders, including Western Digital (WDC) and Micron (MU). (Reuters)

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) declared a success in its $30 billion tender offer for Swiss biotech Actelion. J&J now controls 77.2 percent of the voting rights. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter. (Reuters)

France's Danone (DANOY) will sell its Stonyfield organic yogurt business, as a DOJ condition to complete its planned $10.4 billion buyout of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave (WWAV). (Reuters)

Wal-Mart (WMT) wants to have the lowest price on 80 percent of its sales, according to a company presentation. The new price push coincides with Amazon's (AMZN) increased aggressiveness. (Recode)

A massive fire caused a bridge to collapse last night on Interstate 85 in Atlanta, one of the busiest stretches of roadway in America, creating what the mayor called a long-term "transportation crisis." (NBC News)


Friday brings the busiest day of the week for economic data, with February personal income and spending at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago purchasing managers index for March is out at 9:45 a.m. ET. The University of Michigan releases its final March consumer sentiment index at 10 a.m. ET.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard wrap up this week's crush of Fed speakers with separate morning events. Only Kashkari is a voting member on the central bank's policy committee for this year.


BlackBerry (BBRY) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 4 cents per share, beating forecasts for a breakeven quarter. Revenue also exceeded estimates. The company said it expects to generate positive free cash flow for fiscal 2018.

Chipotle (CMG) shareholders have pulled a proposal to split the CEO and chairman roles after an agreement was reached with the restaurant chain to strengthen the company's lead director position.

Looking for ways to ease bottlenecks, Starbucks (SBUX) will open a dedicated mobile order and pay store next week in its Seattle headquarters building to tests how to best serve customers.

Panera Bread (PNRA) will begin to roll out new labeling of added sugars and calories in sodas and other self-serve fountain beverages, the first such move by a U.S. restaurant chain.

Wells Fargo (WFC) will have to face a multi-billion dollar lawsuit from investors, stemming from the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis era.

AstraZeneca (AZN) received FDA approval for the use of its Tagrisso lung cancer drug to treat patients with a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer.


March Madness is down to the Final Four: featuring South Carolina vs. Gonzaga and Oregon vs. North Carolina tomorrow night. The winners play Monday night for the national championship. (Washington Post)

Crayola is retiring the color Dandelion from all of its crayon boxes to make way for a new color that it plans to announce today on National Crayon Day. (AP)