Dow to rise | Charges in college cheating scheme | Buffett's patience pays

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher as Boeing (BA) shares, which were tracking for an eighth down session in a row and the third since Sunday's deadly 737 Max 8 crash, flipped higher in the premarket this morning. (CNBC)

The Dow, which fell 96 points Tuesday, would have been higher if not for Boeing's sharp decline. In fact, the Dow's entire 361-point deficit for March is due to Boeing. The market saw strong January and February gains. (CNBC)

On Wednesday's economic calendar at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Commerce Department releases its shutdown-delayed report on January durable goods orders, and Labor is out with its February producer price index. (CNBC)

* Mortgage applications set a new record, but not a healthy one (CNBC)
* Cramer: Semiconductors are now showing better signs about the global economy (CNBC)

Retailers Express (EXPR) and Vera Bradley (VRA) are on this morning's short list of earnings releases, with Smart & Final Stores (SFS), and Stein Mart (SMRT) out with quarterly results after the bell. (CNBC)

* JP Morgan escalates deposit wars with expansion into the heart of Bank of America country (CNBC)
* Biggest analyst calls of the day: CVS Health, Carnival, and more (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

With airlines and governments around the world pulling Boeing 737 Max 8 jets out of service, after the two deadly crashes, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is not only resisting the calls to ground the plane, she even flew back on one to Washington on Tuesday afternoon. (CNBC)

* FAA says its review of the aircraft 'provides no basis to order grounding' (CNBC)
* Live updates on investigation (NY Times)
* Boeing CEO expresses confidence to Trump on safety of the 737 Max (NY Times)
* From flight manual to automation, pilots complain about Boeing's newest jet (USA Today)

Two high-profile actresses and a slew of top business executives are among more than 40 people charged in an alleged $25 million cheating scheme to help wealthy students to gain admission to top colleges. (CNBC)

* Hercules chief steps aside as ex-Pimco CEO and others charged (CNBC)
* Here's how the major college cheating scheme allegedly worked (CNBC)

For the second time in less than a week, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is set to be sentenced today in a criminal case lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller. The 69-year-old Manafort faces a possible maximum of 10 years in prison. (CNBC)

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to impose a moratorium on the state's death penalty today, granting reprieves to all 737 inmates on death row and closing the state's execution chamber. (Reuters)

The United States will continue to do whatever it takes to rid Venezuela of Nicolas Maduro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC after delivering an address to the energy industry in Houston. (CNBC)

New details about how Apple's new subscription magazine service, expected to launch inside of a revamped Apple News application, surfaced on Tuesday. Apple is expected to announce the service during a March 25 press event. (CNBC)

* Spotify accuses Apple of breaching EU antitrust rules (CNBC)
* Pandora pitches ads targeted to Amazon and Google smart speakers (WSJ)

The SEC has received permission from a federal judge to respond to Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk's defense of his tweet involving production levels. The agency had asked that Musk be held in contempt, claiming he violated settlement terms. (Reuters)

* Musk set to unveil tomorrow a new Tesla for the masses: Model Y crossover (WSJ)
* Goldman: Tesla's earnings and deliveries likely to disappoint this quarter, so sell the stock (CNBC)

Volkswagen plans to reduce its workforce by up to 7,000 staff, raise productivity, and eke out $6.7 billion worth of annual savings at its core VW brand by 2023. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Aurora Cannabis has appointed longtime activist investor Nelson Peltz as a strategic advisor. The addition of Peltz to the Aurora team represents one of the largest endorsements of the nascent pot industry.

Kraft Heinz (KHC) is considering a sale of its Breakstone business, known for its cottage cheese and sour cream products, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke to CNBC. The unit is said to be worthy roughly $400 million.

John Standley plans to depart as Rite Aid (RAD) CEO once a successor is appointed. CFO Darren Karst and COO Kermit Crawford are leaving as well. Rite Aid is also cutting about 400 corporate positions in hopes of saving about $55 million per year.

Goldman Sachs (GS) is opening its special situations group to outside investors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The profitable group has been investing Goldman's own money in Asian property, troubled U.S. retailers, and other ventures.

WATERCOOLER

If billionaire investor Warren Buffett wasn't the head of Berskshire Hathaway (BRK.a) and instead worked as a financial advisor, he'd probably have a tough time holding a job these days due to short-term thinking. (CNBC)