March 18 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Tickers in this article: AXP GM MSFT ORCL SNE WMT

Updated from 6:50 a.m. EDT

Here are 10 things you should know for Tuesday, March 18:   

1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a weaker start for Wall Street on Tuesday as Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen presides over her first policy-making meeting as chief of the central bank.

European stocks were lower. Asian shares ended the session with gains. Japan's Niikkei 225 rose 0.9%. 

2.-- The  economic calendar  in the U.S. on Tuesday includes housing starts and building permits for February at 8:30 a.m. EDT and the Consumer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. The Federal Open Market Committee two-day meeting begins Tuesday.

3.-- U.S. stocks  on Monday closed higher in a relief rally after the absence of military violence surrounding the weekend's Crimea vote. Domestic industrial production rebounded, pointing to ongoing  improvement in the domestic economy. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average  rose 1.13% to close at 16,247.22 while the  S&P 500  gained 0.96% to 1,858.83. The  Nasdaq rose 0.81% to 4,279.95.

4.-- General Motors  issued a new recall of 1.5 million vehicles on Monday, and CEO Mary Barra acknowledged the mistakes made by the automaker.

In a video message to employees posted Monday, Barra said the new recall resulted from a push to review potential safety issues and resolve them more quickly.

It's part of the fallout from the recall last month of more than 1.6 million small cars for defective engine switches. The defect is linked to 12 deaths, and GM is facing multiple investigations into how it handled the recall. GM first began investigating the switches in 2004.

"Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened," Barra said.

GM said it expects to spend about $300 million in the first quarter to repair the vehicles in the new recalls as well as the vehicles in the small car recall.

GM shares rose 0.2% in premarket trading.

5. -- Wal-Mart  launched a video game trade-in program that it hopes will "disrupt" the $2-billion pre-owned video game market and take share from competitors like  GameStop .

Starting March 26, approximately 3,100 U.S. Wal-Mart stores will begin buying back used video games, the company announced. The new program will add to Wal-Mart's mobile device trade-in program, which was launched last year.

6. -- Software maker Oracle is expected by analysts on Tuesday to post fiscal third-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $9.36 billion.

In premarket trading, Oracle shares rose 0.7% to $38.50.

7. -- American Express said Monday that it is selling half of its business-travel division for $900 million, creating a joint venture with a group led by Certares International Bank, in a deal that allows Amex to keep a stake in corporate travel while freeing up cash to "to invest in growth initiatives."