Morning Brief

Stock futures fluctuate on Wall Street ahead of more corporate earnings

Key Points


Futures were flat this morning after a day that saw little change for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Wednesday marked only the fifth time in 28 trading days that the Dow did not post a triple-digit move, and its 111-point trading range was its narrowest since January 23. (CNBC)

* Cramer rebels against Street's 'downbeat' outlook on banks (CNBC)
* Goldman Sachs executive: 'Too early to fear a full-on global meltdown' in stocks (CNBC)

Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG), whose stable of brands include Pampers diapers and Gillette razors, is buying the consumer health business of Germany's Merck (unrelated to the U.S. company of the same name) for about $4.2 billion. (Reuters)

* P&G beat estimates on earnings and revenue (CNBC)

Dow stock American Express (AXP) late Wednesday reported quarterly profit of $1.86 per share, beating estimates by 15 cents. Revenue also beat forecasts as customers spent more amid a rebounding U.S. economy. The stock was up about 3 percent in premarket trading today. (CNBC)

Bank of New York Mellon (BK), BB&T (BBT), Blackstone Group (BX), Danaher (DHR) and Genuine Parts (PGC) are among this morning's quarterly earnings. After-the-bell reports today include E*Trade (ETFC) and Skechers (SKX). (CNBC)

The Labor Department releases its weekly report on initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, expected to drop to 225,000 for the week ending April 14 from 233,000 the prior week. The monthly Philadelphia Fed index is out at the same time. (CNBC)


President Donald Trump said that he would scrap a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if he feels it's "not going to be fruitful." The president said that CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim "got along really well" in their recent secret meeting. (AP)

* South Korea confirms talks to formally end war with the North (NY Times)

China said it is well prepared to handle any poor effects from its trade dispute with the Trump administration, adding that its tariff hikes on United States imports will not have a big impact overall on its domestic industries. (Reuters)

* Trump and Japan's Abe agree to intensify trade talks (Reuters)
* Manufacturers fear uneven penalties from China tariffs (WSJ)

Trump said he's been transparent with Robert Mueller's investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia but the president refused to say whether he would ever fire the special counsel. Trump told reporters that Mueller is "still here." (USA Today)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is apparently teaming up with Mueller, asked state legislators to eliminate a loophole that could let recipients of pardons for federal crimes from Trump avoid state criminal charges. (CNBC)

California reached a deal with the Trump administration to provide National Guard troops to combat drug smugglers, criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearms within the state and at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Reuters)

Puerto Rico suffered an island-wide power outage, a catastrophic failure that could take up to 36 hours to restore. It happened only hours after authorities boasted that less than 3 percent of its customers remained without power after Hurricane Maria. (NY Times)

The Pentagon announced Lockheed Martin (LMT) secured a $928 million contract to build an undefined number of hypersonic conventional strike weapons. A hypersonic weapon is a missile that travels at Mach 5 or higher. (CNBC)

The FAA will order inspections of jet engines after investigators said a broken fan blade touched off an explosion on a Southwest flight. Regulators last year proposed more rigorous testing of the type of engine that exploded on a Southwest flight Tuesday. (NY Post & CNBC)

Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeffrey Bewkes in federal court vigorously defended his company's $85.4 billion merger with AT&T (T). The Justice Department sued to stop the blockbuster deal in November. AT&T chief Randall Stephenson is expected to testify as soon today. (NY Times)

Martin Shkreli, who was convicted of defrauding hedge-fund investors and manipulating the stock of his former firm, was sent to federal prison to serve the remainder of his seven-year sentence after being denied his request for a minimum-security federal camp. (CNBC)

Billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller and Fed chair runner-up Kevin Warsh invested in a cryptocurrency project called Basis. Bain Capital Ventures said it led the $133 million private placement in Basis, which was its first purchase of tokens. (CNBC)

Nike's (NKE) vice president of footwear, Greg Thompson, has left the company, the latest in a series of executive departures at the sportswear maker. Nike's vice president of diversity and inclusion, Antoine Andrews, left earlier this week. (Reuters)

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed in his annual shareholder letter that the company's Prime service now exceeds 100 million members worldwide. In 2017 alone, Amazon added more Prime members than any prior year. (CNBC)


Comcast (CMCSA) is teaming up with one of the nation's largest Blue Cross health insurers, Independence Health Group, to launch a new consumer-oriented health care technology platform. The partnership has grown out of the firms' work together on health initiatives in the Philadelphia area, where both companies are headquartered.

21st Century Fox (FOXA) rejected Comcast's bid for its entertainment assets because of antitrust concerns, according to a regulatory filing. Comcast's bid was 16 percent higher than the price that Walt Disney (DIS) is paying for those assets.

Qualcomm (QCOM) began layoffs as part of its effort to cut $1 billion in costs. Separately, China's antitrust regulator said the chip maker's proposed deal to acquire NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) for $44 billion has issues that are "hard to resolve."

Alcoa (AA) came in 7 cents ahead of estimates with adjusted quarterly earnings of 77 cents per share, while revenue was essentially in line with forecasts. The aluminum producer also raised its full-year earnings outlook on more favorable market conditions.

Sleep Number (SNBR) missed estimates by 4 cents with quarterly profit of 52 cents per share, and the mattress retailer's revenue also missed as comparable store sales fell more than expected. The stock was getting slammed by about 13 percent in the premarket.


Elon Musk's SpaceX launched a satellite for NASA that aims to discover thousands of planets over two years. The project marked the first under a special certification SpaceX has obtained to carry one of NASA's highest-priority science instruments. (CNBC & Reuters)