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Stocks are set for a higher open as Wall Street's fears about inflation and rates ease

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, after the Dow and S&P 500 saw their second best day of 2018 on Friday, with the Nasdaq hitting a fresh record high. The latest jobs report eased fears about inflation and the prospect of faster rate hikes. (CNBC)

CNBC has learned scammers appear to have made off with more than $2 million in cryptocurrency after carrying out an apparent fake initial coin offering. The ICO was for a start-up called Giza, which claimed to be developing a device that would allow people to store cryptocurrencies.

Longtime Dow Chemical boss Andrew Liveris plans to step down next month after nearly 14 years, the Wall Street Journal first reported this morning. Jeff Fettig, co-lead director, will assume the role of executive chairman the company on April 1.

On the data front for today, the U.S. is set to release its monthly budget statement for February at around 2 p.m. ET. Market expectations are pricing in a -$216 billion deficit for the federal government's operating budget. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Five people were killed yesterday evening after a helicopter hired for a photo shoot crashed into New York's East River, authorities said. The pilot, who was taken to the hospital, freed himself and survived, while two people were pronounced dead at the scene. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump will support a modest set of fixes to gun laws, including providing more data for background checks and allowing officials to obtain court orders to seize guns, stepping back from some of the more sweeping changes he had considered. (CNBC)

* Trump gun proposal skips age limits, focuses on teaching educators how to use guns instead (NBC News)

The president is strongly considering Christopher Liddell, a White House official who was an executive at Microsoft (MSFT) and General Motors (GM), to replace top economic advisor Gary Cohn, according to the New York Times, citing sources.

U.S. and European officials are planning new trade talks this week after Trump rattled two of the United States' biggest economic partners, Japan and the EU, with his steel and aluminum tariffs. The president has appeared unwavering in his plans. (WSJ)

* White House set to host follow-up meeting on biofuels (Reuters)

The National Weather Service forecasts another major weather system taking aim at parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut late tonight and into tomorrow morning. A snow system battered parts of New York and New Jersey just last week, leaving mass power outages. (CNBC)

The long-awaited initial public offering of Saudi Arabia's massive oil company could be delayed until 2019 at the earliest, according to the Financial Times. The IPO was expected to come to market sometime this year, potentially the largest ever.

Michael Rubin, Fanatics owner and internet entrepreneur, is said to be "very interested" in owning the NFL's Carolina Panthers, a source tells CNBC. Billionaire hedge fund owner David Tepper is also seen as a contender for the team.

SpaceX boss Elon Musk announced his timeline for sending a space vehicle to Mars could have its first milestone early next year. During the latter half of 2017, the company said it aimed to send a cargo mission to the Red Planet by 2022. (CNBC)

* Coming soon to a front porch near you: Package delivery via drone (WSJ)

Imagine a world where home-based avatars help humans remotely multitask. The XPrize Foundation is announcing a $10 million contest today at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. (CNBC)

Disney (DIS) and Marvel's "Black Panther" has continued its win streak at the box office, crossing the $1 billion mark in its worldwide totals after beating out the four-day totals of Disney's last big movie "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." (The Verge)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Goldman Sachs' (GS) Lloyd Blankfein is preparing to step down as chief executive as soon as the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, sources tell CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin that Blankfein hasn't told the board about a departure timeline that's within this year.

Regeneron (REGN) and Sanofi (SNY) shares were higher after the drug, Praluent, sold by the two companies showed to significantly reduced major adverse heart events and also led to fewer deaths among high-risk patients.

American Express (AXP) is planning to woo retailers and other businesses with its biggest fee cut in 20 years in the latest sign of competitive and regulatory pressures, the Financial Times reported.

Amazon's (AMZN) Whole Foods Market and some of the most important brands it sells in its stores will meet on March 19 for a summit as tensions escalate, sources tell CNBC. The grocer notified certain vendors about the meeting last Saturday.

WATERCOOLER

Tiger Woods fell short of an 80th PGA Tour title yesterday but still gave adoring fans a thrill late in the final round at the Valspar Championship. Thousands lined the fairway Sunday at every hole Woods played and his galleries dwarfed the rest. (Reuters)