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March 3 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Stocks in this article: AAPL MSFT GM F C MDR

Updated from 6:55 a.m. EST

Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, March 3:   

1.-- U.S. stock futures were falling sharply on Monday as tension over Russia's military advance into Ukraine intensified.

European stocks were lower while Asian shares ended Monday's session mostly to the downside. Japan's Nikkei 225 index declined 1.3%.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday includes personal income and personal spending for January at 8:30 a.m. EST, the ISM Index for February at 10 a.m., and construction spending for January at 10 a.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks closed higher Friday amid a stronger reading for consumer confidence, buoyed by assurances that the Federal Reserve will continue to support markets. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to close at 16,321.90, while the S&P 500 gained 0.28% to finish at 1,859.45. The Nasdaq slid 0.25% to 4,308.12. The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq last week gained 1.4%, 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. 

4.-- Russia intervened over the weekend to take control of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula with strategic importance, and the new government in Kiev said it fears a wider invasion. The West responded by questioning Russia's membership in the Group of Eight leading industrialized democracies, and the U.S. threatened possible asset freezes and trade penalties.

5.-- Microsoft (MSFT) has shuffled its executive ranks, the biggest personnel changes since new CEO Satya Nadella took over, The New York Times reported.

Mark Penn, the former aide to the Clinton family, will become the company's chief strategy officer, according to the Times. Penn, who has been an executive vice president at Microsoft overseeing advertising and strategy, will be given a bigger role in determining which markets Microsoft should be in and where it should be making further investments, the newspaper reported, citing a person briefed on the change.

Tami Reller, the company's executive vice president for marketing, who shared leadership of advertising and marketing at Microsoft, will leave the company, as will Tony Bates, Microsoft's executive vice president of business development, the person told the Times.

Microsoft shares fell 1.2% in premarket trading on Monday to $37.85.

6. -- Automakers, including General Motors (GM) and Ford (F), are expected on Monday to report auto sales for February.

Auto sales had been gaining steadily for four years but hit a rough patch this winter. Experts expect a sales gain of 1% or less in February. So the three-month trend shows December flat, January down 3% and February flat. 

-- The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Citigroup (C) for accounting fraud after it disclosed bogus loans in its Mexican Banamex unit, a source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.

TheStreet reported on Friday that Citigroup planned to restate its 2013 earnings after Banamex discovered fraud committed by a commercial borrower.

The stock fell 1.4% in premarket trading to $47.94.

8.-- Apple  (AAPL) on Monday introduced CarPlay, a system that links the iPhone with a car's entertainment system.

CarPlay was unveiled at an auto show in Geneva, Switzerland. Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo are showing off CarPlay implementations at the show, while other makers pledging to include CarPlay in future vehicles include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota, according to Re/code.

Apple shares fell 0.7% in premarket trading.

9. -- Men's Wearhouse (MW) and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) said they are exchanging certain confidential information with each other, signaling that they are moving a bit closer to a possible merger.

Shares of Jos. A. Bank rose 0.8% in premarket trading to $62.55.

10.-- "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday evening. 

"Gravity" won seven Oscars, including the best director award for Alfonso Cuaron.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email to:tips@thestreet.com.

Follow @josephwoe58

 

Copyright 2014 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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