Morning Brief

Wall Street is set to open modestly higher as stocks seek to put brakes on slide

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were modestly higher this morning, following the worst day for the S&P 500 in nearly six weeks. The Monday sell-off erased the Dow's gains for 2018, and both the Dow and S&P 500 are now lower for the month of March. (CNBC)

Alex Stamos will step down as Facebook's (FB) security chief later this year, according to multiple reports. However, Stamos posted a Twitter message late Monday saying he was "still fully engaged" with his work at Facebook, although he didn't address the report directly.

* Facebook's marketing VP says the company is 'beyond disturbed' by data scandal (CNBC)

All this comes on the heels of a Monday sell-off in Facebook stock, which lost as much as 6.8 percent, following the controversy of the use of personal user data by a political consulting firm connected with the Trump campaign. The stock was under pressure again this morning.

* Officials call for aggressive probe into Facebook (WSJ)
* Cambridge Analytica execs caught suggesting sex workers, spies could be used to win elections (CNBC)

While there are no economic reports due today, investor attention is focused on the beginning of the two-day March meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers. The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates at the conclusion of the meeting tomorrow. However, investors are anxious over what the central bank may say about future interest rate hikes. (CNBC)

* Cramer's playbook for defining Fed meeting (CNBC)
* Expect higher interest rates and smaller gain for stocks in 2018: CNBC survey
* Fed is unlikely to mention the one thing that could really hurt the economy (CNBC)

Retailer Children's Place (PLCE) is one of the few companies out with quarterly earnings this morning, while FedEx (FDX) highlights a very short list of after-the-bell earnings reports. Office furniture maker Steelcase (SCS) is also out with earnings after today's closing bell. (CNBC)


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman joins President Donald Trump at the White House today to discuss infrastructure projects, Russia's role in Syria, the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and the Iranian nuclear deal. (CNBC)

Congress, facing a Friday midnight deadline, toiled late last night to finish writing a $1.2 trillion bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. A range of issues slowed the bill, including gun control-related measures and President Trump's border wall. (Reuters)

Illinois holds its primary elections today, which will help determine whether Republicans or Democrats will control the House in November. Neither of the Democratic senators from Illinois face re-election this year. (CNBC)

Republicans could roll out a "phase two" of tax cuts as early as April, according to Rep. Mark Meadows, as the GOP look for another selling point ahead of November's midterm elections. The party could push to make individual tax cuts permanent. (CNBC)

One employee was injured when a package containing nails and shrapnel bound for Austin, exploded at a Texas FedEx facility. It's unclear if the explosion was related to a string of bombings in the Texas capital over the past two weeks that have killed two people and wounded four. (Reuters)

The Weinstein Company, whose former Chairman Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and assault late last year, is officially filing for bankruptcy and terminating all non-disclosure agreements, paving the way for a bankruptcy auction. (USA Today)

Uber is temporarily halting self-driving car tests in all locations after a woman was hit and killed early Monday morning, in what is likely the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle. Programs in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and Toronto will be paused. (CNBC)

Whole Foods hosts a summit today for up to 200 of its suppliers, amid anxiety about how its ongoing business revamp will play out under new owner Amazon (AMZN). CNBC first reported on the summit last week. (Reuters)

Fifty-five percent of American households subscribe to at least one video streaming service, spending $2.1 billion a month, a new Deloitte survey finds. The consulting firm said the average streaming customer has already subscribed to three services. (CNBC)


Oracle (ORCL) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 83 cents per share, 11 cents above estimates. However, revenue was slightly below forecasts, and the business software giant gave a lower than expected cloud computing revenue forecast for the current quarter.

Apple (AAPL) has a two-year lead over smartphone rivals in the 3-D sensing technology used in the iPhone's Face ID security feature, according to parts producers quoted by Reuters. The producers say most Android phones will not have a similar feature until 2019.

BlackBerry's (BB) effort to have a shareholder lawsuit dismissed was rejected by a U.S. District Court judge. The lawsuit accuses BlackBerry of making overly optimistic statements about sales prospects for its BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

Kroger's (KR) Fred Meyer unit plans to exit the firearms business completely, a decision that comes two weeks after it decided to no longer sell guns and ammunition to those under the age of 21.

Boeing (BA) dropped its objection to the merger of two of its suppliers, United Technologies (UTX) and Rockwell Collins (COL). The jet maker had criticized the $23 billion deal last year, saying it would undermine competition.


Amazon chief Jeff Bezos kicked off his company's annual robotics conference by posting a photo of him taking a robotic dog for a walk. The robot, named SpotMini, has become popular on the internet after unsettling videos of it learning how to open doors. (CNBC)