Top Stories
Top Stories
Morning Brief

Stocks set to open lower | Jobs Friday is here | China supports Huawei

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were lower this morning, as the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq finish what's tracking to be their worst week of 2019. If all three fall today, it will be the first time they've all done so in each day of a full trading week since November 2016. (CNBC)

* Shanghai stocks plummet more than 4% as China exports fall 20% (CNBC)
* US-China trade deal isn't imminent, so no summit date set, envoy says (WSJ)

The one event that could shift Wall Street's fortunes occurs at 8:30 a.m. ET, when the Labor Department releases the February employment report. Economists think the economy added 180,000 nonfarm jobs, with the unemployment rate dropping to 3.9 percent from January's 4 percent. (CNBC)

* Jobs data should show whether there's anything to really fear about economy (CNBC)

While they may be overshadowed by the employment numbers, the government also releases January housing starts data at the same time. The shutdown-delayed report is seen showing a 9.5 percent jump to an annual rate of 1.18 million units, after slumping 11.2 percent in December. (CNBC)

Discount retailer Big Lots (BIG), resort operator Vail Resorts (MTN), and truckmaker Navistar (NAV) all report earnings this morning ahead of the opening bell. There are no major profit reports due out after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

CNBC has learned the White House is expected to unveil a budget on Monday that does not balance, despite optimistic growth projections and deep cuts to discretionary programs. The budget is supposed to act as a road map for Congress.

China's government voiced its support for Huawei's legal challenge against the United States today, saying the technology firm has the right to refuse to be "victimized like silent lambs." (CNBC)

A federal judge gave President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, a 47-month prison sentence, a far shorter length of time than prosecutors had argued for. He was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. (CNBC)

Trump's former longtime attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization, claiming his former employer failed to pay "fees and costs" he incurred related in part to Robert Mueller's Russia probe. (CNBC)

The Trump administration is considering a rule that would require hospitals to publicize the prices they negotiate with insurers. As of Jan. 1, the Trump administration required hospitals to post sticker prices for services online. (CNBC)

Martin Shkreli, the disgraced pharma executive dubbed "Pharma Bro," remains the shadow power at Phoenixus AG, the Wall Street Journal reported. Wielding a contraband smartphone, Shkreli still helps call the shots, the Journal said.

American Airlines (AAL) has taken more than a dozen of its Boeing 737 jets out of service after some newly installed overhead bins wouldn't close, leading the carrier to cancel about 40 flights. (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) executives have still not decided where to manufacture the electric automaker's forthcoming crossover SUV, the Model Y, despite company plans to formally unveil the vehicle for the first time next week. (CNBC)

* Tesla enters into agreement with Chinese lenders for Shanghai Gigafactory (Reuters)

Costco (COST) raised its starting wage for workers to $15 per hour from $14, its second dollar-per-hour increase in less than a year. Meanwhile, Costco reported mixed quarterly results, but strong same-store and comparable online sales. (Reuters)

Shares of National Beverage (FIZZ), the maker of popular seltzer water LaCroix, were dropping about 18 in premarket trading after CEO Nick Caporella blamed a drop in sales and profit on "injustice." (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Deutsche Bank (DB) and Commerzbank have no mandate from their supervisory and management boards to engage in merger talks, according to Reuters sources. Focus magazine had reported that the CEOs of the two German banks had resumed talks about a potential merger on orders from those boards.

The FCC has halted its 180-day review clock on the proposed merger of Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS), giving the public three extra weeks to comment on the $26 billion combination of the two wireless carriers.

Insys Therapeutics (INSY) has hired Lazard to advise it on possible strategic options, and the drugmaker also said it was in talks to sell its fentanyl spray product Subsys. Insys had said in November that it was reviewing options for its opioid-related assets.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reported positive results for an experimental two-drug HIV treatment in a late stage study. The drug combination would be administered just one time per month.

American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) reported quarterly profit of 16 cents per share, 4 cents above estimates. The firearms maker also saw revenue above forecasts. Without an adjustment for a restructuring charge, the company, formerly known as Smith & Wesson, reported a quarterly loss.

Okta (OKTA) reported a quarterly loss of 4 cents per share, half the loss that analysts were forecasting. The maker of identity management tools also saw revenue beat forecasts. But it gave a weaker than expected outlook.

The Buckle (BKE) was downgraded to "sell" from "hold" at Deutsche Bank, which expects the accessories retailer to miss consensus estimates for its fourth quarter. The company is scheduled to report its quarterly results next Friday.

WATERCOOLER

Disney (DIS) and Marvel's "Captain Marvel" is expected to earn between $125 million to $145 million at the box office this weekend, the best start for a standalone superhero film since Marvel's "Black Panther." (Variety)