Morning Brief

Dow futures are up triple digits, possibly extending rally seen Friday

Key Points


Futures were sharply higher this morning, appearing to continue the surge seen Friday. The late-month increase may not be enough to get the market back to breakeven for the month, with the Dow down 3.2 percent, the S&P 500 down 2.7 percent, and the Nasdaq down 1 percent. (CNBC)

Warren Buffett's annual letter showed Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) is itching to do a massive acquisition but is having a difficult time due to elevated valuations. At year-end last year, Berkshire had $116 billion in cash and short-term Treasury bills. Buffett will join CNBC from 6 to 9 a.m. ET today.

* Here's highlights from Buffett's annual letter to shareholders (CNBC)
* Buffett's investing lesson in letter: Never borrow money to buy stocks (CNBC)

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Fed Governor Randal Quarles both have public appearances today at the National Association For Business Economics annual policy conference in Washington. Bullard, who is not a voting member of the FOMC for 2018, speaks this morning, while Quarles will speak this afternoon. (CNBC)

It's a busy week for economic numbers but just one is on today's calendar, with the government issuing new home sales for January. Consensus forecasts call for a 4 percent jump in sales, partially reversing December's 9.3 percent decline. (CNBC)


Congress is returning to work this week under pressure to respond to the outcry over gun violence in the wake of this month's Florida school shooting. No plan appears ready to take off despite a long list of proposals, including many from President Donald Trump. (AP)

* Trump: Florida shooting at top of agenda at govs meeting (AP)
* Baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones calls for stricter gun laws (USA Today)

President Trump considers drug dealers to be as bad as serial killers and would "love to have a law" that executes dealers in the U.S., Axios reports, citing unnamed sources. He is a reportedly a fan of Singapore's capital punishment policy.

The president's legal team is considering ways for him to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller, the Wall Street Journal reports. Trump's team is weighing options such as providing written questions and having a limited face-to-face testimony.

* Ex-Trump campaign official Gates pleads guilty on two counts (CNBC)
* RNC paid Trump campaign's Trump Tower rent after paying Russia probe legal bills (CNBC)

Trump's longtime personal pilot, who flew him around the country during the 2016 campaign, is reportedly on a shortlist to head the Federal Aviation Administration, multiple outlets reported. An official told the Washington Post that John Dunkin may be more qualified than people realize.

The southern and central U.S. was pounded with rain and fierce winds over the weekend, leveling homes, uprooting trees and demolishing cars. Flooding is expected to continue to be a threat this week as more rain falls and runoffs continue. (USA Today)

The Weinstein Company reportedly plans to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell it fell through, extending the damage from sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood co-owner. (NY Times)

The ruling Communist Party of China proposed a plan that could leave President Xi Jinping in office indefinitely, sparking an uproar on social media and drawing comparisons to North Korea's ruling dynasty. (Reuters)

* As Xi Jinping tightens his grip on power, 'major risks' loom (CNBC)

Samsung launched its flagship S9 smartphone over the weekend with an improved camera and augmented reality capabilities to challenge Apple's (AAPL) new model, the iPhone X. The South Korean giant released two versions, a 5.9-inch S9 and 6.2-inch S9+. (CNBC)


General Electric (GE) plans to restate 2016 and 2017 earnings after adopting a new accounting standard, according to an SEC filing. It will result in a 13 cent cut in earnings per share for 2016 and 16 cents for 2017.

American Outdoor (AOBC), Sturm Ruger (RGR) and stocks of other gun-related manufacturers continue to be on watch today in the aftermath of the recent Florida school shooting and the subsequent backlash. Avis Budget (CAR), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines Group (UAL) are among the latest companies to eliminate discounts for National Rifle Association members. Additionally, asset manager Blackstone (BX) has asked outside fund managers to detail their holdings in gun makers and sellers, and Bank of America (BAC) and State Street (STT) are both asking gunmaking clients how they can help prevent mass shootings.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) plans to eliminate all diesel passenger vehicles from its automobile lineup by 2022, according to a report in today's Financial Times.

Boeing (BA) would have a 51 percent stake in a new joint venture currently being negotiated with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer (ERJ), according to a Brazilian newspaper report.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) had the permit for its Bayou Bridge crude oil pipeline revoked by a federal judge in Louisiana, in the wake of protests by environmental groups.


South Korea brought the curtain down Sunday on its 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games with athletes dancing and singing together. Norway led the pack this year, gaining a total of 39 medals. The U.S. came in fourth behind Germany and Canada for a total of 23 medals. (Reuters & NBC Olympics)