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After early losses, oil stabilizes and so do stocks

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures clawed back early losses as oil stabilized this morning, after a sharp slide in Chinese stocks. Earnings season also kicks into high gear today, while the Fed begins its two-day policy meeting. (CNBC)

The Fed is not expected to take any action on interest rates this week, but traders hope central bankers will make some reassuring comments about market volatility and offer guidance on rate hikes. (CNBC)

U.S. oil dipped below $30 per barrel early this morning before recovering. Monday's decline of 5.75 percent broke a two-session winning streak, which had pushed depressed prices up 13.5 percent. (Reuters)

China's Shanghai composite fell nearly 6.4 percent, hitting its lowest level since December 2014. Failing to lift sentiment, the People's Bank of China conducted its biggest daily open markets operation in three years. (CNBC)

AIG (AIG) will return at least $25 billion in capital to shareholders over the next two years, execute an IPO of its United Guaranty unit, and divest a number of other businesses. But the insurer rejected activist investor Carl Icahn's call for a complete breakup. (CNBC)

Five Dow stocks report earnings, with DuPont (DD), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Procter & Gamble (PG), and 3M (MMM) before the bell this morning. Apple (AAPL) is out after the market close. (CNBC)

As analysts lower their profit expectations, Apple's shares have been sliding , more than 16 percent the last three months, compared to the approximate 10 percent decline for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. (CNBC Pro)

For the past few months, Twitter (TWTR) has stopped or dramatically reduced displaying ads to a small group of some of its most prominent and active users. (Re/code)

JPMorgan (JPM) resolved most of a Lehman Brothers-related lawsuit for $1.42 billion. The bank had been accused of draining Lehman in the final days before Lehman's September 2008 collapse. (Reuters)

JPMorgan will also pay $995 million to insurer Ambac Financial Group to settle disputes and litigation related to mortgage-related securities. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama is expected to propose in his 2017 budget new rules to make it easier for small businesses to join together to form 401(k) retirement plans for their workers. (NY Times)

With Monday's Iowa caucuses approaching, Republican front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz crisscross the state, and so do Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. (USA Today)

Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen said he's created a limited-edition flavor inspired by Sanders. Dubbed "Bernie's Yearning," it consists of mint ice cream topped with a hard chocolate shell. (CNBC)

BY THE NUMBERS

Housing numbers figure prominently on today's economic schedule, with November price data coming at 9 a.m. ET from the Case-Shiller report and the Federal Housing Finance Authority. The Conference Board, at 10 a.m. ET, issues its January consumer confidence index.

Sprint (S) reports earnings this morning, after announcing Monday at least 2,500 job cuts across six customer care centers and its Kansas headquarters. It's part of its plan to reduce $2.5 billion in costs.

Meanwhile, some of Sprint's prepaid wireless customers will soon be able to get $5 off their monthly bill, but the Wall Street Journal reports they'll have to put up with ads when they unlock their smartphones.


STOCKS TO WATCH

FirstMerit Corporation (FMER) is being purchased by rival Ohio bank Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) for $3.4 billion in cash and stock. The deal, valued at $20.14 per share, is a 31 percent premium.

Lone Pine has revealed a 5 percent stake in yoga wear maker Lululemon (LULU). The hedge fund, run by retailing insider Stephen Mandel, now owns 6,446,607 shares.

Centene (CNC) is missing six hard drives containing personal data of about 950,000 clients. However, the health insurer said the drives don't contain financial or payment data.

Staples (SPLS) is replacing its longtime head of stores, as the office supply retailer tries to complete a merger with rival office depot. Same-store sales in North America fell 2 percent in the latest quarter.

Sony (SNE) is moving the headquarters of its PlayStation gaming unit from Japan to California, saying it will allow the tech giant to respond quicker to industry trends.

WATERCOOLER

The stock market slump so far this year has knocked 20 U.S. executives and CEOs from the billionaires club, including GoPro's Nick Woodman, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, and Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein. (NY Post)