Morning Brief

Concerns about North Korea and Syria keep a lid on Wall Street

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were flat this morning after what was tracking to be the lowest volume day of the year. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq on Monday did eke out their second positive session in three. (CNBC)

United (UAL) shares were under pressure in premarket trading this morning after CEO Oscar Munoz doubled down amid the uproar over the video of a passenger dragged from an overbooked flight. In a company-wide email, Munoz claimed employees followed procedures, calling the passenger "disruptive and belligerent." (CNBC)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Russia today to realign with the U.S. and break ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Tillerson attended the G-7 meeting in Italy before flying to Moscow. (CNBC)

A senior American official said the U.S. has concluded that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week. The official said a Russian-made fighter jet later bombed the area in a cover-up. (AP)

In an escalation of defiance over its missile program, North Korea is vowing respond to any military moves that might follow the U.S. decision to send an aircraft carrier battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula. (AP)

President Donald Trump's economic advisory council, led by Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman, is back to the White House today, with top executives from Wal-Mart (WMT), General Motors (GM), and Tesla (TSLA) expected to attend.

Tesla shares were higher in premarket trading after briefly passing GM as the largest U.S. automaker by market value. Tesla stock also hit an all-time high in Monday's session following an analyst upgrade. (CNBC)

Another Apple supplier is seeing its stock tank amid fears of losing a key contract. Anglo-German manufacturer Dialog Semiconductor fell 20 percent this morning after a financial analyst warned Apple may be working on its own battery-saving chip for the iPhone. (CNBC)

Less than three months after being sued by Apple (AAPL) for $1 billion, chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) is countersuing the iPhone maker in a dispute over licensing fees for mobile technology. (CNBC)

Shares of RetailMeNot were soaring nearly 50 percent in premarket trading after the online coupon firm agreed to be purchased by Harland Clarke for $555 million. RetailMeNot will become a privately held company. (PR Newswire)

Azul (AZUL) debuts today, after Brazil's third-largest airline raised $645 million in a dual IPO in Sao Paulo and New York. Azul was started in 2008 by JetBlue founder David Neeleman. (Reuters)

The report from Wells Fargo's board and executive compensation clawbacks are not the end of changes following the sales scandal, CEO Tim Sloan told CNBC. "We have much more work to do in terms of rebuilding trust," he said.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has resigned in the wake of a sex scandal that staggered the state, brought him to the brink of impeachment, and prompted a series of criminal investigations. (NY Times)


The postelection surge in small business optimism was sustained in March, according to the NFIB. While the group's small business trends index slipped 0.6 points last month to 104.7, it was still a strong reading and slightly above expectations.

Following last Friday's soft March jobs report, the government releases its February Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) at 10 a.m. ET. Job openings were expected to stay relatively unchanged at 5.66 million.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said late Monday the central bank's plans to gradually raise rates are aimed at sustaining full employment and target inflation without overheating the economy. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari speaks at 1:45 p.m. ET.


Shares of Whole Foods (WFM) were higher in premarket trading after soaring 10 percent Monday on word that activist investor Jana Partners took a nearly 9 percent stake and suggested the supermarket should consider a sale.

JAB may have competition for Panera Bread (PNRA). Brazilian private equity giant 3G, which counts Warren Buffett as a backer, is seriously weighing a rival bid, according to the New York Post.

Ford said it sees the SUV segment growing even further, accounting for more than 45 percent of the non-premium U.S. retail auto market in the next five to seven years.

The first 3-D printed components to be used on a commercial jet plane are all set to fly thanks to a partnership between U.S. aerospace giant Boeing (BA) and Norwegian firm Norsk Titanium.