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Wall Street surges on oil output freeze talk

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were sharply higher this morning, after stocks and oil last week hit their January lows and then rallied strongly on Friday. The S&P 500 snapped a 5-session losing streak, gaining 2 percent. U.S. crude surged 12 percent on the day. (CNBC)

Oil was strong, but pared gains this morning, after Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela said they would freeze output at January levels if other producers followed their lead. The 19-month collapse in crude recently breached 13-year lows. (CNBC)

As stocks and oil bounced and safe-haven demand abated, gold lost some of its luster this morning. The metal rose to one-year highs last week, but started its three-session fall on Friday and continued with strength in Asian stocks Monday. (Reuters)

Chinese stocks, on their second day back after a week-long Lunar New Year break, led Asian markets higher, with the Shanghai composite up 3.3 percent overnight. Japan's Nikkie closed slightly higher after rallying 7 percent on Monday. (CNBC)

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO) has agreed to buy ADT (ADT) for $42 per share, a huge premium, and combine the security firm with Apollo-owned Protection 1. ADT stock surged about 50 percent in premarket trading. (CNBC)

Alibaba Group (BABA) said in a regulatory filing that it owned 33 million shares of Groupon (GRPN) as of Dec. 31. The 5.6 percent stake made Alibaba the fourth-largest stake holder in the struggling daily deals firm. (IB Times)

Apple Pay will be available in China, starting Thursday, for customers of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the biggest lender there. Meanwhile, Apple Music passed 11 million subscribers, 10 percent higher than the figure provided on the company's earnings call just over two weeks ago. (Reuters & Apple Insider)

IBM (IBM) plans to begin testing its own variation on the transactional software known as blockchain, a technology that underpins the Bitcoin digital currency. (WSJ)

In the first known reference to Volkswagen's emissions cheating, a VW executive warned management in a 2014 memo about a U.S. investigation into the German automaker's diesel engines. (WSJ)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is the "most likely candidate" to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, according to a leading Supreme Court analyst. Republicans want the next president to choose Scalia's suuccessor. (NBC News)

Donald Trump still leads by a wide margin in South Carolina, according to a new poll, after the weekend's explosive GOP debate in Greenville. Meanwhile, Democrat Hillary Clinton still holds a double-digit lead over Bernie Sanders. (The State)

Facing increasing pressure in South Carolina after lackluster showings in early GOP nominating contests, Jeb Bush brought in older brother and former president George W. Bush to rail on Trump, who fired back at his own Monday event. (NY Times)

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz blasted what he called 'bombastic' American politics, during an all employee meeting in the Carson Valley Roasting Plant in Nevada.

"Deadpool" has annihilated U.S. box office records for a R-rated movie, with $150 million over the long holiday weekend. The Fox (FOXA) superhero film pulled in another $150 million overseas. (WSJ)

At the Grammy Awards, album-of-the-year Taylor Swift called out rapper Kanye West. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga paid tribute David Bowie, while Jackson Browne and members of Eagles honored Glenn Frey. (USA Today)

BY THE NUMBERS

Economic reports out today include the February Empire State Survey from the New York Fed at 8:30 a.m. ET, and February sentiment report from the National Association of Home Builders at 10 a.m. ET.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren are all making public appearances today. Only Rosengren is a voting policy member.

Kinder Morgan (KMI), Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), and Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) are among the new energy and commodity positions taken by David Tepper's Appoloosa Management, according to the firm's quarterly 13F filing.

Community Health Systems (CYH), of which Tepper holds a small stake, reported an unexpected loss for its latest quarter, with the hospital operator's revenue also falling short. The stock was off about 25 percent in premarket trading.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Vodafone (VOD) will pay John Malone's Liberty Global (LBTYA) $1.1 billion as part of an agreement to combine the Netherlands operations of the two companies.

General Electric (GE) is exploring potential business opportunities involving oil and gasoline in Iran, according to Reuters. That follows a visit to the country recently by the CEO of GE Oil & Gas.

Amgen's (AMGN) anemia drug Aranesp met its primary goal in a late-stage trial, aimed at reducing the need for red blood cell transfusions in certain anemia patients.

Disney's (DIS) Hong Kong theme park lost $19 million in 2015, the first annual loss in four years because of fewer visitors from China. It could be a potential headache with Shanghai Disney set to open in June.


WATERCOOLER

On the heels of Disney's record-setting "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the next installment of the franchise began filming in London this week, with Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern joining the cast. (NY Times)

Sports Illustrated has created a series of virtual reality videos to accompany its latest swimsuit edition. Time (TIME) said its lucrative issue, boasting 60 million readers, will feature three separate covers. (USA Today)

It's Day 2 of the Westminster Kennel Club 140th Annual Dog Show in New York City, featuring the Sporting, Working, and Terrier groups, as well as the big Best in Show prize. (USA Today)