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Stocks take cues from rollercoaster crude

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were looking over their shoulders at the energy markets this morning, after two days of whiplash from falling oil prices. The Dow fell further into negative territory for the year on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 managed to just stay positive for 2015. (CNBC)

Oil prices rose this morning, as U.S. crude stockpiles dipped, according to industry group the American Petroleum Institute. At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Information Administration is due to release its weekly inventories report. (Reuters)

Dow Chemical (DOW) and DuPont (DD) are expected to announce a merger by tomorrow, in a deal that would be one of the biggest in the best-ever year for mergers and acquisitions. Both stocks were sharply higher in premarket trading. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO) has confirmed it won't move forward with a spinoff of its stake in Alibaba (BABA), and instead explore options involving its core Internet business. (CNBC)

The House has voted overwhelmingly to tighten restrictions on travel by citizens of the 38 nations who are allowed to enter the U.S. without obtaining a visa — if, among other things, they visited Syria and Iraq. (NBC News)

Londoners have blasted comments made by Donald Trump that police are too scared to go into certain "radicalized" parts of the U.K. capital. Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidate's call to halt Muslims from entering the U.S. has divided the GOP. (CNBC & NBC News)

The San Bernardino terror couple spent at least a year preparing for their attack, practicing at a local gun range and making financial plans for their family after their deaths. Meanwhile, a former neighbor bought rifles used in the rampage. (NBC News & NY Times)

Starting today, the U.S.-Mexico border will be one of the only crossings that has an airport straddling two countries. A new terminal in San Diego, California has a bridge that crosses a razor-wire fence to Tijuana International Airport. (USA Today)

Australian authorities today raided the home of a computer expert and entrepreneur in suburban Sydney, just hours after two news outlets identified the man as a likely creator of the digital currency bitcoin. (NY Times)

Imports from China by Walmart (WMT) eliminated or displaced over 400,000 jobs in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013, according to an estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive research group that's long targeted the retail giant's policies. (NY Times)

Households that opt to go without health insurance in 2016 are set to get hit with an average Obamacare fine of $969. That is 47 percent higher than the average $661 penalty per uninsured household for this year, new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed. (CNBC)

For the second time, the Supreme Court is hearing a white Texan's challenge to the use of race in college admissions. The arguments, set for today, are expected to focus on whether the University of Texas has compelling reasons to consider race among other factors. (AP)

Douglas Tompkins, the billionaire founder of clothing brands North Face and Esprit, died after his kayak capsized in southern Chile. Also an environmental activist, the 72-year-old bought land in the Patagonia region aimed at keeping them pristine. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

China's central bank today set the mid-point rate for the yuan at the lowest level in more than four years, as heavy capital outflows and a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy weigh on the currency.

In the lead up to Friday's big day for U.S. economic reports and next week's Fed meeting, today's schedule is rather light, with the government releasing wholesale trade for October at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect an increase of 0.1 percent after a 0.5 percent advance in September.

Home borrowers rushed to refinance ahead of a potential Fed interest rate hike next week. Total mortgage application volume increased 1.2 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

MasterCard (MA) announced a 19 percent increase in its quarterly dividend and a new $4 billion share repurchase program. The buyback plan becomes effective after the credit card giant completes its current $3.75 billion authorization.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Costco (COST) was under pressure in the premarket, after reporting a fall in comparable-store sales for the third straight quarter. The decline of 1 percent was lower than estimates calling for a slight advance.

Dave & Buster's (PLAY) rallied in premarket trading, after delivering quarterly results and same-store sales that blew past Wall Street forecasts. The company also raised its full-year revenue and comp sales guidance.

Kinder Morgan (KMI) fell in the premarket after the company cut its annual dividend to 51 cents per share from $2.04 per share to maintain its investment grade rating.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) surged in the premarket on news CEO Steve Wynn has purchased over a million shares of the company. Wynn now owns 11,070,000 shares.

Hertz (HTZ) gained in premarket trading after activist investor Carl Icahn upped his stake in the car rental company to 14.3 percent.

WATERCOOLER

Bruce Springsteen tickets won't go on sale until Friday, but hundreds of seats have already been listed for up to $5,000 or more on StubHub and other resale sites — listings that have drawn the attention of the New York attorney general. (NY Times)

Music-streaming giant Spotify is toying with the idea of allowing musicians to reserve new releases for paying subscribers. Artists and record labels have pressured Spotify to pay more for the music it streams. (AP)