Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, March 19:
1. -- Stocks Rise as Fed Unlikely to Move on Interest Rates
U.S. stock futures rose modestly on Tuesday, and global stocks steadied as investors kept risk appetite in check ahead of the start of the two-day Federal Reserve meeting.
The CME Group's FedWatch tool has priced in a 98.7% probability the Fed won't lift rates at the conclusion of its meeting Wednesday, but does indicate at least a 30% chance of a rate cut - from the current range of 2.25% to 2.5% - by January 2020.
The Federal Reserve, which tries to regulate the speed of the economy by raising or lowering U.S. interest rates, finds itself at a crossroads, with Donald Trump's administration insisting that his tax-cut-fueled growth will continue apace for years to come while a majority of economists now see a recession as inevitable within the next three years.
So what will the U.S. central bank do as the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee prepares to meet? As little as possible, according to economists from Deutsche Bank.
"Monetary policy is currently in a good place, and with various crosscurrents buffeting the outlook, the committee will remain patient in assessing the need for any further adjustments to the policy stance," Deutsche Bank economists wrote in a report. "The March FOMC meeting should reinforce this now-familiar message."
In addition to the start of the Fed meeting, the economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes Factory Orders for January at 10 a.m.
2. -- SEC Blasts Tesla CEO Elon Musk for Failing to Curb 'Reckless' Tweets
The Securities and Exchange Commission blasted Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) CEO Elon Musk for his alleged failure to abide by an agreement to curb his "reckless" tweets, with the commission calling the billionaire's behavior "stunning" in court papers filed late Monday.
Lawyers for the SEC in a filing in federal court rejected Musk's defense of his recent social media activity and called for the Tesla founder to be held in contempt of court for a series of more than a dozen tweets, including one on the electric carmaker's production numbers.
The commission contends the recent tweets, including one that boasted that Tesla would build 500,000 electric cars in 2019, violated an agreement the SEC struck last fall with Musk related to securities fraud charges it had brought against him.
The SEC leveled the charges against Musk for falsely tweeting he had the money to take the company private. Under that agreement, Musk agreed to have his tweets pre-approved by a "designated securities counsel" at Tesla before hitting publish.
"It is therefore stunning to learn that, at the time of filing of the instant motion, Musk had not sought pre-approval for a single one of the numerous tweets about Tesla he published in the months since the Court-ordered pre-approval policy went into effect," the commission stated in its filing Monday.
Tesla was down 0.5% in premarket trading.
3. -- Tilray Rises After Beating Revenue Estimates
Cannabis company Tilray (TLRY rose in premarket trading Tuesday after beating fourth-quarter revenue estimates.
Revenue of $15.5 million was higher than year-earlier revenue of $5.1 million and beat Wall Street predictions of $14.1 million.
The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 33 cents a share, wider than analysts' expectations that called for a loss of 14 cents. In the same period last year, Tilray reported a loss of 4 cents a share.
Tilray attributed the fourth-quarter loss to "operating expenses related to growth initiatives, expansion of international teams and costs related to financings and M&A activities."
For the full year, revenue increased 110% to $43.1 million, which also topped Wall Street's expectations of $41.8 million.
"2018 was a very successful year for Tilray with many corporate milestones. Our team made significant progress on our long-term initiatives including increasing production capacity, expanding and strengthening strategic partnerships, and acquiring complementary businesses to accelerate our future growth and leadership position in medical and adult-use cannabis," said CEO Brendan Kennedy.
"Looking ahead, we remain committed to pursuing global growth opportunities and will be disciplined in deploying capital, particularly in the United States and Europe, where we believe we have multiple paths for value creation," he added.
During the fourth quarter, Tilray tripled the amount of cannabis it sold to 2,053 kilograms from 694 kilograms a year earlier. The average net selling price per gram rose to $7.52 from $7.13.
The stock rose 2.3% to $73.93 in premarket trading on Tuesday.
4. -- Nvidia Announces Partnership With Amazon Web Services
Nvidia (NVDA - Get Report) CEO Jensen Huang made quite a few hardware and software announcements during a 160-minute keynote talk Monday at the company's GPU Technology Conference. He also disclosed some new partnerships, and shared a handful of interesting stats.
Getting a lot of attention was the launch of a new Amazon Web Services cloud computing instance (known as the EC2 G4) for powering inference workloads - the running of trained artificial intelligence models against new data and content, such as a voice command, a language-translation request or a photo taken with a smartphone camera -- using Nvidia's Tesla T4 GPUs. The EC2 G4 arrives a few months after Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) unveiled Inferentia, an internally designed chip for powering AWS inference workloads.
Separately, AWS executive Matt Garman shared a slide highlighting major AWS clients who are using Nvidia's powerful Tesla V100 server GPU, which is meant for AI training and high-performance computing workloads. The client list included Salesforce.com, Verizon, Siemens, Comcast, Lyft and Western Digital.
5. -- WarnerMedia to Set Interim Leadership Team After Tsujihara Ouster - Report
The team likely will consist of Warner Bros. motion pictures group Chairman Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. television group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth, and at least one other top executive, individuals familiar with the company told Variety. The leadership group likely will include at least one female executive, Variety reported.
WarnerMedia started an investigation earlier this month after a Hollywood Reporter story revealed text messages between Tsujihara and British actress Charlotte Kirk going back to 2013. Tsujihara is alleged to have pushed for auditions for Kirk with whom he was having a sexual relationship, according to media reports. He released a memo apologizing to his colleagues at WarnerMedia for his behavior.
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