Here are five things you must know for Friday, March 15:
1. -- Stocks Rise as U.S. and China Make Trade Progress
U.S. stock futures were higher on Friday, getting a lift from Asian markets that rose on hopes the U.S. and China were making progress on a trade agreement.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125 points, futures for the S&P 500 were up 13.25 points, and Nasdaq futures gained 44.50 points.
Chinese state media reported Friday that Washington and Beijing made "concrete progress" on the text of their trade pact.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Donald Trump said Thursday the U.S. would know where the trade agreement stood over the next three to four weeks.
"We'll have news on China. Probably one way or the other, we're going to know over the next three to four weeks," Trump said during a St. Patrick's Day reception at the White House.
China has been "very responsible and very reasonable," the president said.
Stocks in the U.S. closed Thursday's session mixed, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finishing slightly lower and putting an end to three-day winning streaks.
Boeing (BA) - Get Report dipped in premarket trading Friday after the aircraft manufacturer said it would temporarily halt deliveries of new 737 MAX jets. The company said it paused delivery of the planes to clients after the model crashed for the second time since October. The U.S. on Wednesday became the last major country to ground the 737 MAX following last Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 aboard.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the Empire State Manufacturing Survey for March at 8:30 a.m. ET, Industrial Production for February at 9:15 a.m., Consumer Sentiment for March at 10 a.m., and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for January at 10 a.m.
2. -- Tesla's Model Y to Be Released in 2020 With Starting Price of $47,000
CEO Elon Musk introduced the new crossover, a mid-sized SUV that's larger than the entry-level Model 3 - but smaller than the Model X, Tesla's full-size SUV - at an event Thursday at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif.
The first Model Y models are due for release in fall 2020, and slated to start at $47,000 for the long-range version. A dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version will be available for $51,000, and a sportier performance version will sell for $60,000. The following year a "standard range" version will arrive and start at $39,000, Musk said.
The versions will vary in range, speed and power: The long-range one will run up to a distance of 300 miles, while the standard-range version will run for 230 miles on a charge.
The Model Y will seat seven passengers, and have 65 cubic feet of cargo space. The performance version will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Completing the EV lineup that Musk has dubbed "S3XY," the Model Y has the "functionality of an SUV but will ride like a sports car."
"We expect it will be the safest mid-size SUV in the world by far," Musk said at the event.
Shares of Tesla fell 2.8% in premarket trading to $281.82.
3. -- Facebook Loses Two Top Executives
Facebook (FB) - Get Report said Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, who ran the business development team and WhatsApp, will be leaving as CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated the social media giant's new focus on being a "privacy-focused social platform."
"At this point, we have made real progress on many issues and we have a clear plan for our apps, centered around making private messaging, stories and groups the foundation of the experience, including enabling encryption and interoperability across our services," Zuckerberg wrote. "As we embark on this next major chapter, (Cox) has decided now is the time to step back from leading these teams."
Cox played an integral role in Facebook's development, starting as an engineer on the original News Feed, building its first HR teams, leading product and design teams, running the Facebook app, and most recently determining strategy for the company's family of apps, according to Zuckerberg's post.
Cox was seen as a potential successor to Zuckerberg.
"This will be a big project and we will need leaders who are excited to see the new direction through," Cox wrote in a statement.
Daniels, meanwhile, will be succeeded by Will Cathcart as the head of WhatsApp.
Zuckerberg also announced that Fidji Simo will be the new head of the Facebook app as part of a restructuring that will see the CEO take a more direct role following Cox's resignation.
The stock declined 1.8% in premarket trading.
4. -- Broadcom Jumps After a Big Earnings Beat
Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Report rose 4.8% in after-hours trading Thursday after posting stronger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and saying it would return around $12 billion to stockholders this year through dividends and stock buybacks.
Earnings in the quarter were $5.55 a share, well ahead of the Wall Street forecast of $5.22. Net revenue was $5.79 billion, just shy of the consensus forecast of $5.82 billion.
Free cash flow rose 39% from last year to more than $2 billion, Broadcom said. The semiconductor company said it expects "returning approximately $12 billion to stockholders in fiscal 2019 via a combination of cash dividends and stock buybacks and eliminations, while maintaining our investment grade credit rating."
"We had a good start to 2019 as we continued to execute on our proven business model. Strong results in our networking business supported our semiconductor solutions segment, despite the anticipated sharp decline in wireless," said CEO Hock Tan. "Additionally, our infrastructure software segment performed extremely well as we made good progress with the CA business integration into Broadcom."
"Similar to our peers, we see a slowdown in China impacting demand," Tan added. "However, much of this was factored into our original guidance and we are maintaining our full-year fiscal 2019 business outlook."
- Broadcom Tops Earnings Estimate, Sees $12 Billion in Shareholder Returns in 2019
- Broadcom Gains Following an Earnings Beat: 5 Key Takeaways
Other news from the tech sector:
Adobe (ADBE) - Get Report fell 3.3% in premarket trading Friday after the cloud-based software company issued fiscal second-quarter guidance below analysts' expectations.
Oracle (ORCL) - Get Report fell 3.6% in premarket trading after the software giant reported fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings of 87 cents a share, beating forecasts by 3 cents, but issued a fourth-quarter outlook that disappointed investors.
5. -- SEC Accuses Volkswagen of 'Massive Fraud' in Dieselgate Scandal
The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued Volkswagen (VLKAY) , alleging in a court filing that the German automaker "perpetrated a massive fraud" during its diesel emissions scandal.
Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn fraudulently raised billions of dollars from investors, including by overplaying the firm's environmental credentials.
Volkswagen earlier this week said it plans to cut between 5,000 to 7,000 jobs by 2023 as the company shifts its focus to electric vehicles.
The move also is aimed at cutting operating costs by about €5.9 billion ($6.6 billion). Volkswagen is expected to invest a total of $19 billion over the next five years to make electric vehicles, moving away from gas-powered engines in the wake of the so-called dieselgate scandal that has cost the company $30 billion.
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