Morning Brief

Wall Street is under pressure for the second straight session on Trump concerns

Key Points


Global stock markets were lower this morning after the next turn in the chaos facing President Donald Trump's White House. Former FBI Director Bob Mueller was appointed late Wednesday as special counsel to oversee the agency's Russian investigation (CNBC)

The U.S. stock market, which has soared since the election on hopes for a Trump-inspired boost to the economy, had been largely ignoring the White House turmoil before Wednesday. The stock market yesterday suffered its biggest declines of the year. (CNBC)

In a difficult earnings season for retailers, Dow component Wal-Mart (WMT) reported profit that beat expectations but revenue that missed. Meanwhile, Cisco Systems (CSCO), another Dow stock, best on earnings and revenue, but warned on outlook and announced 1,100 new job cuts. (CNBC)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) missed estimates on earnings but beat on revenue. Alibaba also announced a $6 billion stock buyback. (Reuters)

On the economy, weekly jobless claims were less than expectations and the May Philadelphia Fed index exceeded estimates. The Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators is released at 10 a.m. ET. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks at 1:15 p.m. ET.


President Trump didn't get much of a heads up on the appointment of Mueller, who led the FBI for 12 years under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The Justice Department informed the current White House after the order was signed. (NBC News)

Four potential candidates to lead the FBI, including former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, have met with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Last week, Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. (AP)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel, plans to brief senators in a closed-door meeting today on Trump's decision to fire Comey. (USA Today)

Michael Flynn, who was fired as national security advisor, reportedly told Trump's transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation into whether he secretly worked as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. (NY Times)

Flynn and other Trump campaign advisors were reportedly in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race. The discussions focused on mending U.S.-Russian economic relations. (Reuters)

In a major jolt of support for President Trump, the powerful political network overseen by conservative billionaire Charles Koch is launching a multimillion-dollar campaign to drive Trump's tax plan through Congress. (USA Today)

The Trump administration will deliver a letter to Congress today, notifying lawmakers of the White House's intent to renegotiate NAFTA, three sources familiar with the matter told CNBC.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will tell a Senate hearing today that the U.S. economy can grow 3 percent or more if regulatory and tax reforms are enacted, according to a copy of his speech seen by Reuters.

President Trump will welcome Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to the White House today to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues. Trump and Santos are expected to hold a news conference this afternoon. (White House)

Protests are planned outside the FCC where its three-member commission is expected to pass today a controversial measure which ultimately would overturn the net neutrality rules passed by the FCC in 2015. (USA Today)

Facebook (FB) has been fined $122 million by European regulators for providing "misleading information" about its acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp. Separately, today is the 5th anniversary of Facebook's IPO. (CNBC)

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell died suddenly late Wednesday. He was 52. The grunge pioneer died in Detroit after performing there earlier in the evening. After breaking up, Soundgarden got back to together in 2010. (NBC News)


Pandora (P) shares were surging in premarket trading, following a New York Post report that SiriusXM (SIRI) is in active talks about a bid for the online radio company.

Ascena Retail (ASNA) shares are under pressure after the parent of Ann Taylor, Loft, and other apparel brands gave weaker than expected current quarter and full year 2017 guidance.

L Brands (LB) beat estimates by 4 cents with quarterly earnings of 33 cents per share, while the Victoria's Secret parent reported revenue in line with Street forecasts. L Brands also raised its 2017 full year guidance.

The chairman of Deutsche Bank (DB) told the German bank's annual meeting that he expects former board members to pay substantial sums for past misconduct.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) will be the target of a Justice Department lawsuit over excess diesel emissions, according to reports, if no agreement is reached. The EPA accused the automaker earlier this year.

General Motors (GM) will stop selling vehicles in India and will sell its South African operations. The automaker will take a $500 million second quarter charge related to the move.

Boeing's (BA) unfair trade claims against Canadian rival Bombardier will be investigated by the Commerce Department. Boeing claims Bombardier's CSeries jets are being dumped below cost into the U.S. market.

The CEO of BHP (BHP) met with Elliott Management, in talks the activist investor group called "constructive." Elliott is pressuring the mining company for a variety of strategic changes.

Merck's (MRK) immunotherapy drug Keytruda lengthened survival in advanced bladder cancer patients by three months, according to trial results that the drugmaker plans to present at next month's ASCO meeting.


Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) comes out in as No. 1 on LinkedIn's 2017 Top Companies list. Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), Salesforce (CRM), and Uber round out the top five. (CNBC)