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Morning Brief

Stock futures higher | Lyft to begin trading | Mnuchin: US-China talks 'constructive'

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning on the final trading day of March and the first quarter. So far, 2019 has been a good year for the bulls. The S&P 500 is off to its best start to a year since 1998. The Dow must make up a 0.8 percent deficit today to avoid finishing lower for March. (CNBC)

Lyft (LYFT) priced its initial public offering at $72 per share, at the high end of the expected range, after that range was raised earlier in the week. The shares of the San Francisco-based ride-hailing platform will begin trading on the Nasdaq this morning. (CNBC)

* On eve of Lyft's much-hyped debut, Warren Buffett says regular investors shouldn't buy hot IPOs (CNBC)

The government is out with personal income and consumer spending numbers for February at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is out at 9:45 a.m. ET. At 10 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan issues its final March Consumer Sentiment Index. (CNBC)

* Buffett on the economy: 'It looks like things have slowed down' (CNBC)

It's a very light day for earnings today. Auto retailer CarMax (KMX) is out with quarterly earnings this morning, while there are no companies of note issuing numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet today that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had concluded "constructive" trade talks in Beijing in the first face-to-face meetings between the countries in weeks. (Reuters)

House Democrats have intensified their demands for an early release of Robert Mueller's full report after learning the special counsel's findings from his Trump-Russia investigation run to more than 300 pages. (AP)

* Trump's pivot to health care takes a backseat at his first post-Mueller campaign rally (CNBC)

Sen. Cory Booker is dipping into his pool of financial industry donors as he looks for a fundraising edge in the early goings of the 2020 race. Investment executive Marc Spilker and businessman George Tsunis are among the financiers interested. (CNBC)

British Prime Minister Theresa May will hold an all-important vote on a watered-down version of her Brexit deal today, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid a major delay to the country's departure from the European Union. (CNBC)

* Facebook tightens political ad rules in Europe to stop interference in upcoming elections (CNBC)

Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO Tim Sloan stepped down, saying the bank would benefit from a change in leadership. Sloan had been under increasing pressure as he tried to restore the bank's reputation following the 2016 fake account scandal. (CNBC)

* Elizabeth Warren on Tim Sloan leaving Wells Fargo: 'About damn time' (CNBC)

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) laid off nearly 150 of its 65,000 employees this week, as more shoppers shift their spending online, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC. A little less than 50 jobs were cut at its namesake stores.

Starting May 1, Disney (DIS) parkgoers in the U.S. will not be allowed to smoke or vape inside the company's theme parks. Designated smoking areas will be available outside of entrances to parks, water parks and EPSN sports complex. (CNBC)

The New York Attorney General is suing OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), McKesson Corp. (MCK) and other opioid makers and drug distributors in a massive new legal fight against the industry. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Boeing (BA) is facing its first lawsuit over the Ethiopian Airlines crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet. It was filed in Chicago by the family of Jackson Musoni of Rwanda, one of the crash victims.

Restoration Hardware parent (RH) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $3.00 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $2.86, even though the furniture retailer's revenue was below Wall Street forecasts. RH also cut its full-year earnings forecast, noting negative trends in the high end housing market.

General Motors (GM) sold a closed South Korean plant to Tesla (TSLA) supplier Myongshin for an undisclosed price. Myongshin will use the facility for contract manufacturing of electric vehicles. Separately, GM said it would not cut the price of its electric Chevy Bolt even though a federal tax credit is due to drop by 50 percent on Monday.

DowDupont (DWDP) cut its sales forecast for its first quarter, with the chemical maker citing the impact of floods in the Midwest on its agriculture business as well as weakness in its packaging and specialty plastics units.

Spotify (SPOT) was rated "underperform" in new coverage at Credit Suisse, which said that consensus long-term expectations for the music streaming service are too high despite its own forecast of strong subscriber and revenue growth.

WATERCOOLER

Four teams are into the Elite Eight following another day of March Madness, the annual NCAA college basketball tournament. USA Today has look at the four biggest takeaways from Thursday's Sweet 16 action.