Morning Brief

Wall is set for a mixed open as investors wait to hear more on Trump's tariffs

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were mixed this morning, after the Dow and S&P 500 closed lower in the previous trading session. The Nasdaq saw its fourth positive session in a row, however, led higher by Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL). (CNBC)

Express Scripts Holding (ESRX) shares soared 15 percent premarket after U.S. health Insurer Cigna (CI) announced it agreed to buy the pharmacy benefit manager in a $67 billion cash-and-stock deal, a premium of nearly to 31 percent to Express' Wednesday closing. (Reuters)

Ahead of the all-important nonfarm payrolls data due out on Friday, Wall Street will be poring over initial jobless claims data, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday and the Quarterly Services Survey, due out at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)


President Donald Trump plans to offer U.S. trading partners Canada and Mexico a 30-day exemption from his new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The exemptions would be extended based on the progress of the NAFTA talks. (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, more than 100 House Republicans signed a letter "urging" the president to trim down his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. The letter praised the Trump administration on tax cuts but warned that adding new taxes would undermine its progress. (CNBC)

* China will make necessary response in event of trade war with US (Reuters)
* Exxon CEO: Trump tariffs move us 'in the opposite direction' from tax cut and deregulation benefits (CNBC)

Eleven countries, not including the United States, are expected to sign a landmark Asia-Pacific trade agreement today that will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy. (Reuters)

Trump spoke about special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation with witnesses after they had been interviewed by investigators, according to the New York Times. He reportedly asked ex-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about his interview.

* Mueller gathers evidence that 2017 Seychelles meeting was effort to establish back channel to Kremlin (Washington Post)

The second major storm in less than a week moved up the East Coast early this morning, dumping heavy snow and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses after some places saw more than 2 feet of snow late last night. (AP)

* Airlines cancel more than 2,400 flights as winter storm hits northeast (CNBC)

Florida legislature voted to approve a gun bill that would raise the age to buy all firearms to 21 following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It would also impose a 3-day waiting period of purchases and possibly put guns into the hands of some educators. (NBC News)

The president's legal team secretly won a temporary restraining order against former adult film actress Stormy Daniels that would prevent her from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump. She had been prepared to speak publicly that Trump's lawyer broke their agreement. (USA Today)


In Apple's (AAPL) annual audit to its supply chain, the company said it had found a higher number of serious violations of its labor and environmental policies for suppliers in 2017. The overall trend among suppliers was toward higher compliance with its code of conduct, however.

Snap (SNAP) is laying off about 100 engineers or nearly 10 percent of the team, CNBC has learned. These layoffs would be the Snapchat parent company's largest yet and the first to hit the company's engineers.

Amazon (AMZN) committed roughly $22 billion in future food purchases, according to its 10-K filing last month. The purchase shows a commitment to growing its grocery business, experts say, following the acquisition of Whole Foods last year.


McDonald's (MCD) trademark golden arches have been entirely flipped upside down in celebration of International Women's Day today. The logo will be changed on all of the company's social media channels and 100 restaurants will have special packaging, crew shirts, hats and bag stuffers. (CNBC Make It)