Morning Brief

Stocks are seeking gains at the open on Wall Street after a late Tuesday sell-off

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after a late-day sell-off on Tuesday sent the Dow and S&P 500 down for a second straight day and ended the Nasdaq's seven-day win streak. That pushed the Dow into negative territory for the month of March. (CNBC)

* Cramer: If you're investing based on Trump's tweets, you're doing it wrong (CNBC)

Another drop in refinances last week kept mortgage application volume basically unchanged, up just 0.9 percent seasonally adjusted, Mortgage Bankers Association data showed this morning.

The government is releasing the Producer Price Index and retailer sales figures at 8:30 a.m. ET. At 10 a.m. ET, January business inventories are expected to show a 0.6 percent jump, after an increase of 0.4 percent in December. (CNBC)

Express (EXPR), Signet Jewelers (SIG). and Vera Bradley (VRA) will issue their quarterly earnings this morning, while today's after-the-bell reports include 3D Systems (DDD), (CTRP), Noodles & Co. (NDLS), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM). (CNBC)


Democrat Conor Lamb is the apparent winner of a House seat in Pennsylvania's Trump country by a razor-thin margin, an upset that gives Democrats a boost as they try to take control of Congress later this year. (CNBC)

* Conservatives double down on tax push ahead of midterms (CNBC)

President Donald Trump's administration is considering a tough new trade package against China that would include indefinite tariffs, investment restrictions and possibly visa restrictions on Chinese travelers, a source told CNBC.

* Why there are no real winners in a trade war (CNBC)

Ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced he will give up his responsibilities and officially leave the job at the end of the month. He added he will focus on an orderly transition for Trump's new choice to lead the State Department, CIA Director Mike Pompeo. (CNBC)

* Tillerson and Cohn are the latest CEOs to stumble in DC (WSJ)
* Firing Tillerson, Trump starts to mold cabinet in his image (NY Times)
* Here's what Trump's pick for top diplomat has said on Russia, North Korea, Iran and Trump's tweets (CNBC)

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are disagreeing with the Republican colleagues on the panel who say they don't see any evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. The Democrats believe there is "significant evidence." (AP)

Thousands of students across the U.S. are planning walkouts today to demand action to end gun violence. The student walkout marks one month since the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people. (USA Today)

United Airlines (UAL) has apologized for the death of a passenger's dog after it was stored in an overhead bin on a flight from Houston to New York's LaGuardia Airport. The company will refund the cost of the tickets and pay for a necropsy. (CNBC)

Iconic U.S. retailer Toys R Us is in the process of drafting the court motion for its liquidation plan, a source told CNBC. A liquidation will most likely result in the closing of all of Toys R Us' 800 stores in the United States.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit plans to ban all cryptocurrency-related advertising, according to Google ad executive Scott Spender. He told CNBC that Google is approaching cryptocurrencies with extreme caution because of the potential for consumer harm.


Broadcom (AVGO) terminated its bid for rival chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) after President Donald Trump blocked the proposed deal, but the company is said to be sticking to its plan to relocate to the United States.

ADP (ADP) saw Bill Ackman's Pershing Square cut its stock in the payroll processing company to 7.2 percent from the prior 8.3 percent.

J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) invested an undisclosed amount in fixed income data start-up Mosaic Smart Data. Mosaic is a developer of technology that makes fixed income sales and trading more profitable.

Walmart (WMT) is expanding its grocery home delivery business to 100 cities by the end of the year. Uber Technologies will be one of the retail giant's partners in the expansion.


Famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who changed the way people see the universe, has died at the age of 76. His better-known works involve black holes and the theory of relativity. He also wrote a number of popular science books, including "A Brief History of Time." (CNBC)

* Remembering Stephen Hawking: 5 things to know about the legendary physicist (USA Today)