Today's Primer 03/18/2013

A controversial bailout for Cyprus is virtually guaranteeing that Wall Street's week will not get off to a positive start, with stock index futures lower following a selloff in the Asian and European markets. That follows the end of the Dow's 10-session winning streak on Friday, along with its record of not falling on any Friday during 2013.

The economic calendar has just one report scheduled to begin the week, with the National Association of Home Builders putting out its monthly sentiment index at 10 a.m. ET. Economists are looking for a reading of 48 for March, two points higher than February. There are no corporate earnings reports of major note scheduled for today.

Boeing (BA) is among our stocks to watch, with competitor Airbus reportedly landing a record jet order that could be worth $20 billion at list prices. Reuters says the order comes from Indonesia's Lion Air, which has traditionally ordered from Boeing.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and the Justice Department have jointly asked a court to extend a stay on current litigation involving its $20.1 billion deal to buy Mexico's Grupo Modelo. The beer brewer issued a statement saying it has made substantial progress in resolving DOJ's concerns about the deal. The biggest beneficiary of this news from a stock perspective may be Constellation Brands (STZ), which is buying assets from AB InBev to help satisfy DOJ's concerns.

Facebook (FB) has appointed Mike Schroepfer as its new Chief Technology Officer. Schroepfer had previously served as VP/Engineering at Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser.

Avis Budget Group (CAR) has appointed Mark Norman as chief executive officer of just-acquired Zipcar, replacing Scott Griffith. The news was confirmed in a memo sent by Griffith to employees late Friday.

Walt Disney (DIS) had another good weekend at the movie box office, with its "Oz the Great and Powerful" ranking #1 for the second consecutive week. The movie took in $42.2 million in North American ticket sales, easily beating "The Call", which was a distant second with $17.1 million in sales.

Verizon (VZ) has been upgraded to "buy" from "neutral" at Citigroup, which now sees Verizon executing a buyout of Vodafone's (VOD) stake in Verizon Wireless that provides tax efficiency for Vodafone and earnings accretion for Verizon.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has been upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" at Morgan Stanley. The firm points to positive momentum in both free cash flow and earnings, which will accelerate the timing of cash being returned to investors.