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Morning Brief

Stocks set for gains | Bezos' texts sold | SEC: Musk never sought tweet approval

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, giving the Dow a shot at extending its win streak to five days and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq a chance at reaching fresh multi-month highs. The Dow fought its way back to virtually breakeven for March. (CNBC)

* Oil prices hover close to 2019 highs (Reuters)
* JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are getting more bullish on India (CNBC)

The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee kicks off a two-day meeting today, with an interest rate decision and policy statement to come tomorrow afternoon. However, the central bank is not expected to raise interest rates this time around. (CNBC)

Tilray (TLRY) shares were up 2 percent in pre-market trading today after the British Columbia-based company reported its cannabis sales more than doubled over the last year. Results buoyed 2018 sales to $43.1 million, up 110 percent from last year. (CNBC)

Retailers DSW (DSW) and Michaels Companies (MIK) are among the handful of companies releasing quarterly earnings this morning, while FedEx (FDX) and office furniture maker Steelcase (SCS) are out with their numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

On the data front this morning, the government is expected to release January factory orders at 10 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a 0.1 percent increase. That would match December's performance. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Deutsche Bank loaned more than $2 billion to Donald Trump before he became president — despite multiple red flags surrounding Trump, according to the New York Times. In some instances, Trump exaggerated his wealth, the paper said.

The White House laid out its case against progressive programs like "Medicare for All" and a wealth tax, while touting the projected benefits of its own economic agenda in a new report published today. (CNBC)

* US chip makers fear trap in a trade deal with china (WSJ)

Canadian officials are re-examining the approval the country gave to Boeing's (BA) 737 MAX jets. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said that no action might be taken, but that the move was wise in light of the worldwide grounding of the aircraft. (Reuters)

The National Enquirer's publisher paid $200,000 to obtain intimate texts between Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tesla's (TSLA) Elon Musk hasn't sought pre-approval for any tweet related to the automaker since striking a settlement with the SEC, according to a filing by the commission. The SEC is seeking to hold Musk in contempt of court. (Reuters)

Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings said the video streaming service will not make its movies or TV shows available on the new video offering that Apple (AAPL) is expected to announce next week. (Reuters)

Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, has sued Twitter (TWTR) and three users for defamation, according to a complaint filed in Virginia. He's seeking $250 million in damages. (NY Times)

Harvard researchers found that the more sweetened beverages a person drank, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease. They also found sugary drinks were associated with a moderately higher risk of dying from breast cancer or colon cancer. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

General Motors (GM) is keeping mum about its plans for its stake in Lyft, as the ride-hailing service gets set to go public. GM holds 35.7 million shares which could be worth nearly $1.3 billion, with some calling for the automaker to cash out and return the money to investors while others think the stake should be kept for strategic reasons.

Revlon (REV) said it found a "material weakness" in its financial reporting, although the cosmetics maker said it does not expect any changes to previously reported results. The company said the weakness relates to the implementation of a back end technology system.

Fox Corp. Class A (FOXA), Fox Corp. Class B (FOX) 21st Century Fox Class A (TFCFA), and 21st Century Fox Class B (TFCF) will begin trading today under new and reassigned ticker symbols and names, following the completion of Walt Disney's (DIS) purchase of Fox assets. Fox Corp. shares represent the TV and film studios, and 21st Century Fox represents Fox News and the broadcasting operation.

Booking Holdings (BKNG) was downgraded to "market perform" from "outperform" at Telsey Advisory Group, with Telsey pointing to increased competition for the parent of Priceline and other travel sites from the likes of Airbnb and Google.

Five Below (FIVE) was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Loop Capital Markets, which thinks the discount retailer has improved its merchandising and execution within its stores.

Del Taco Restaurants (TACO) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 18 cents per share, missing estimates by a penny, although revenue exceed forecasts. The restaurant chain also gave a full-year earnings forecast of 47 to 52 cents per share on an adjusted basis, short of the consensus forecast of 57 cents.

WATERCOOLER

HBO's 'Game of Thrones' prequel pilot has added to the cast in the hotly anticipated yet-untitled series. Miranda Richardson, Golden Globes-winning actor, joins Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse and others on the series. (Variety)