Morning Brief

Dow futures drop into triple digits, possibly extending Thursday sell-off after Trump announced tariffs

Key Points


Futures were sharply lower this morning, re-approaching their early February lows, after President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on aluminum and steel, sparking fears of a trade war. Thursday's losses pushed the Dow into negative territory for 2018. (CNBC)

* More than half of the S&P is in correction territory (CNBC)
* Markets feared Trump would light the fuse on a trade war, and maybe he just did (CNBC)

Despite the overall market's losses, steel and aluminum stocks rose on Thursday, reaching their session highers after Trump's announcement. The president is expected to set tariffs, as early as next week, of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. (CNBC)

* Tariffs may anger China and here's how it may retaliate (CNBC)
* Here are the US exports that could get slapped with retaliation by other countries (CNBC)

American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) shares were losing about 13 percent premarket after it reported that quarterly sales fell following increased talk of tougher gun regulations. It did report adjusted quarterly profit of 9 cents per share, 1 cent above estimates. (CNBC)

Foot Locker (FL), J.C. Penney (JCP), and (JD) are among the companies issuing quarterly earnings this morning, while there are no companies scheduled to report after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

Only one economic report is on today's calendar, with the University of Michigan issuing its final February consumer sentiment index. It's expected to come in at 99.5, according to consensus forecasts, down slightly from the prior 99.9. (CNBC)


President Trump's top economic advisor Gary Cohn could reportedly be considering leaving the White House after he lost a battle to prevent tariffs on aluminum and steel. One source told Politico they wouldn't be surprised if Cohn left as a result of the decision.

* White House preparing for McMaster exit as early as next month (NBC News)

Trump met with the executive director of the NRA, Chris Cox, a day after the president had a roundtable with a bipartisan group of lawmakers. In a tweet, Cox said he had a great meeting and said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "don't want gun control." (Axios)

* Georgia passes bill that stings Delta over NRA position (NY Times)

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied accusations that his country wants to spark a new Cold War. The exclusive comment to NBC News came less than a day after the Russian president boasted a new missile that "can reach any point in the world."

America First Policies, a nonprofit group with close ties to Trump, has hired Trump's pollsters to conduct a wide range of political polling and research, CNBC has learned. The practices raises concerns and breaks with decades of tradition.

States along the Atlantic Coast and beyond were bracing for a major Nor'easter expected to pound the region beginning today with damaging winds, heavy rain and snow and severe flooding. Heavy rain of 1 to 4 inches was expected across parts of New Jersey; Long Island, New York; Connecticut; and Massachusetts. (NBC News)

Richard Clarida, an economist at fund manager Pimco, has emerged as a front-runner to become the Fed next vice chair, Reuters reports, citing sources. Clarida and three others have been interviewed by the White House in the last two months.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google was accused in a lawsuit of firing a man for complaining about hiring practices to boost diversity that he says discriminated against white and Asian men. A spokesperson for Google said it would "vigrously" defend itself. (USA Today)

The Weinstein Company revived a deal to sell its assets to a group of investors, marking a swift and dramatic reversal of fortunes for the scandal-plagued film studio. It came just four days after the company announced it would file for bankruptcy protection. (AP)

A male gymnast alleged that he was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State team doctor who has been convicted of charges related to possession of child pornography and pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault. (USA Today)


Walmart (WMT) was downgraded to "perform" from "outperform" at Oppenheimer, noting that a recent surge in e-commerce sales could wane and that Walmart has traditionally had trouble maintaining an above-market PE multiple. Oppenheimer did say it remains upbeat on the retailer's strategic direction.

Gap (GPS) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 61 cents per share, three cents above estimates, with the clothing retailer's revenue also beating forecasts. The parent of the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic chains also saw comparable store sales rise by 5 percent. Gap also issued stronger than expected 2018 guidance and raised its quarterly dividend by 5 percent.

Nordstrom (JWN) fell four cents short of Street forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.20 per share, although revenue came in above estimates. Comparable store sales for the retailer did rise by 2.6 percent, although Nordstrom sees a lower comp store sales increase for this year of between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent.

Microsemi (MSCC) agreed to be bought by rival chipmaker Microchip Technology (MCHP) $8.3 billion, or $68.78 per share in cash. The Wall Street Journal had reported earlier this week that the two were in talks about a potential deal.

Equifax (EFX) beat estimates by four cents with adjusted quarterly profit of $1.39 per share, with the credit reporting agency's revenue also beating forecasts. The beat comes even as Equifax reported $26.5 million in costs related to the massive 2017 data breach.


Fans of Marvel Cinematic Universe will get to see the next big installment sooner than expected. The studio announced the released date of "Avengers: Infinity War" has been moved to April 27, a week in advance of the previous date. (The Verge)

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