Morning Brief

Wall Street begins March after the Dow breaks its longest monthly win streak in nearly 60 years

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, after the Dow tanked more than 380 points on the last trading day of February. Markets were tumultuous during last month, with the Dow and S&P 500 both breaking 10-month win streaks, their longest since 1959. The Nasdaq posted a monthly loss for the first time in eight months. (CNBC)

New Fed Chairman Jerome Powell this morning appears on Capitol Hill for a second time, with traders and investors seeing if he's going to change his perceived hawkish tone, which sent the Dow about 300 points lower and U.S. Treasury yields higher on Tuesday. (CNBC)

It's the busiest morning of the week for economic numbers, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET with the release of initial jobless claims, personal income, and consumer spending. Two reports are out at 10:30 a.m., with the release of the ISM manufacturing index and January construction spending. (CNBC)

Major retailers are prominent on this morning's earnings calendar, with Best Buy (BBY) beating estimates on profits and revenue and raising its full-year outlook. The stock was surging about 4 percent in the premarket. Kohl's (KSS) also best on the top and bottom lines, supporting the stock. Gap (GPS) and Nordstrom (JWN) are out after the bell. (CNBC)


Hope Hicks, longtime Trump aide and White House communications director, plans to resign in the coming weeks, NBC News has confirmed. Earlier this week, Hicks reportedly told lawmakers that she sometimes told white lies as part of her job.

* Scaramucci to Hicks: 'The best is yet to come' (USA Today)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly been investigating Trump's apparent efforts to oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions last summer. Mueller questioned witnesses about Trump's private comments and state of mind in late July and early August. (Washington Post)

* Trump calls AG Sessions' decision on FISA probe 'disgraceful' (CNBC)

During a bipartisan meeting, the NRA and GOP senators pushed back on President Donald Trump's comments about taking guns away from owners without due process. Trump also called for gun control legislation that would expand background checks. (Axios & NY Times)

* On gun reform, Trump must show that he's not all talk (CNBC)
* Due process, Obama: 5 things Trump told lawmakers about guns (USA Today)

Walmart (WMT) is raising the minimum age to buy guns to 21, citing "recent events" for the move. It will also remove any items from its website that resemble assault rifles, including non-lethal items. Walmart no longer sells assault rifles, having halted them in 2015. (CNBC)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the launch of the IRS' new income tax withholding calculator, giving workers guidance on how much they should deduct for these levies under the new law Trump signed in December. (CNBC)

Top steel and aluminium executives have been invited to the White House today for what could be a major trade announcement, Reuters reports, citing sources. The Trump administration has previously proposed tariffs on imports of the metals.

Delivering his annual State of the Union address, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed a new missile that "can reach any point in the world" and a supersonic device which cannot be tracked by anti-missile systems. (CNBC)

Casino mogul Steve Wynn hit back at explosive accusations of sexual misconduct against him, including one in which a woman accused him of raping her and fathering her child in the 1970s. A spokesman for Wynn called the accusations in part "inflammatory claims." (CNBC)

Music streaming platform Spotify announced plans to list as a public company after nine years as a start-up. The popular service has its share of boosters, but the company has also yet to turn a profit amid amounting music rights costs. (CNBC)

* Most of Spotify's investors can cash out at any time (CNBC)


Salesforce (CRM) topped estimates by 2 cents with adjusted quarterly profit of 35 cents per share, while revenue beat forecasts as well. The company's results were boosted by growing sales of its cloud-based sales and marketing software.

Box (Box) lost 6 cents per share for its fourth quarter, 2 cents smaller than Wall Street had anticipated. Revenue was in line, as was the cloud storage company's earnings outlook for the current year. However, its revenue forecast for the year fell shy of expectations, and it added fewer paid customers than it had in the third quarter.

Monster Beverage (MNST) reported quarterly profit of 35 cents per share, 2 cents below estimates, with revenue also missing forecasts. The beverage maker said its fourth-quarter sales fell due to international inventory reductions.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) is exiting some of its joint ventures with Russian energy firm Rosneft, citing 2014 sanctions. Rosneft said the move will result in "serious losses" from that decision.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is forecasting stronger than expected profit and revenue growth this year, thanks to a rebound in the Brazil market.


Kristen Wiig, known for her roles in comedies like "Bridesmaids" and "Ghostbusters," is reportedly the top choice to play the villain role of Cheetah in the "Wonder Woman" sequel slated to be released late next year. (Variety)