Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 8:
1. -- Stocks Trade Mixed
U.S. stock futures traded higher Thursday, March 8, as investors reacted to reports that the U.S. may exempt certain countries from its impending trade tariffs and largely shrugged off a warming from China that it could make a "justified and necessary response" should a trade war between the world's two biggest economies escalate.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29 points, while those linked to the broader S&P 500 rose 7.25 points.
White House trade spokesman Peter Navarro told reporters Wednesday that Donald Trump was planning "a provision which will exclude Canada and Mexico until the Nafta thing is concluded one way or another," suggesting temporary exemptions within the existing treaty for his planned 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% levy on non-American aluminum, which is likely to be formalized by the end of the week, perhaps even as soon as Thursday.
But reminded investors that any decision Trump ultimately makes will have echoes around the global economy.
"A trade war is never the right solution," said China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. "In a globalized world, it is particularly unhelpful, as it will harm both the initiator and the target countries. In the event of a trade war, China will make a justified and necessary response."
Stocks fell on Wednesday, March 7, after Gary Cohn, the head of Donald Trump's National Economic Council, resigned and investors braced for what could be an escalating global trade war.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Earnings are expected Thursday from Kroger Co. (KR - Get Report) , Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL - Get Report) , Navistar International Corp. (NAV - Get Report) and Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (HOV - Get Report) .
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2. -- Cigna Buys Express Scripts
3. -- Costco's Sales Jump but Margins Are Compressed
Warehouse king Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST - Get Report) used its notorious cut-rate pricing on bulk food and surprising selection of higher-end items to post a same-store sales increase of 8.4% for the holiday season quarter.
Earnings of $1.59 a share for the quarter ended Feb. 18, topped forecasts of $1.47.
However, Costco shares were down 1% in premarket trading on Thursday, likely for several reasons, wrote TheStreet's Cathaleen Chen.
4. -- Snap to Lay Off About 100 Engineers
5. -- Two Big Tesla Shareholders Back Musk's Pay Package
Two of Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA - Get Report) largest shareholders are supporting a plan to award Elon Musk a compensation package valued at $2.6 billion, a show of confidence in the electric carmaker's bid to keep its visionary CEO around for the long haul, Bloomberg reported.