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Surge in oil lifts stocks around the world

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures as well as markets in Europe and Asia were sharply up this morning, as oil prices bounced back. The Dow and S&P 500 could turn positive for February — provided they're able to post the kind of gains indicated in premarket trading. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were higher this morning, recovering nearly all of Friday's nearly 3.7 percent decline, as the overall rig count among American producers continued to drop. (Reuters)

The U.S. will lead the world in oil production increases by 2021, in spite of taking the "biggest hit for now," the International Energy Agency said this morning. (CNBC)

Gasoline prices continued to decline, falling 5 cents in the past two weeks to around $1.77 per gallon, the lowest level in more than seven years, according to the latest Lundberg survey.

The British pound plummeted the most in six years this morning, after the mayor of London came out in support of a so-called Brexit ahead of June's referendum. (USA Today)

Meanwhile, the CEOs of about half of the UK's 100 biggest companies are expected to sign a letter backing Prime Minister David Cameron's fight to keep Britain in the EU. (FT)

Stocks in Asia finished mostly higher, with Chinese and Japanese extending last week's advance. China's Shanghai composite gained nearly 2.4 percent overnight, while Japan's Nikkei added almost 1 percent. (CNBC)

After months of market volatility and quickly retracted circuit breakers that closed Chinese stock trading twice at the beginning of the year, China's top securities regulator finally got the boot over the weekend. (CNBC)

In the government's attempt to force Apple (AAPL) to help unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, FBI Director James Comey said vital decisions involving safety from terrorists should not be left in the hands of corporations. (NBC News)

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook and the FBI's Comey have been asked to testify on the encryption controversy before a House panel. No date has been set for the proposed hearing. (NY Times)

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton both head into this week's nominating contests with two out of three wins. With the exit of Jeb Bush over the weekend the GOP field race appears to be a four-candidate race. (CNBC)

Lumber Liquidators (LL) shares were set for their worst day in six months today, after a revised regulatory report found that wood flooring carries a higher cancer risk. (CNBC)

Bank of America (BAC) is set to roll out a new type of mortgage today to allow for down-payments of as little as 3 percent, in what would represent an end run around of a government agency that punished the bank for making errors on similar loans. (WSJ)

HSBC (HSBC) today reported full-year earnings that missed expectations. The bank also sees a bumpy financial environment ahead, as it deals with volatile markets, ongoing cost-cutting efforts, and leadership uncertainties. (CNBC)

BY THE NUMBERS

With oil prices front and center for the markets, OPEC's general secretary speaks this afternoon at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. Saudi Arabia's oil minister addresses the gathering tomorrow morning.

There are no major economic reports due out today, though the week ahead promises to be busy, with data on home prices, existing home sales, durable goods, GDP, and consumer spending all on the docket.

As investors look for clues on the future of interest rates, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari tomorrow morning and Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer tomorrow evening kick off a busy week for central bank-speak.

Dean Foods (DF) is among the companies set to report quarterly earnings this morning, while Tenet Healthcare (THC) and Fitbit (FIT) are out with quarterly numbers after this afternoon's closing bell.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Yahoo (YHOO) has formed a committee to explore strategic options. The New York Post reports Yahoo is only "halfheartedly" putting itself up for sale, as it defends against activist shareholder Starboard Value.

Amgen (AMGN) and Belgian partner UCB said a new osteoporosis treatment met its primary goal in a late stage trial. The treatment reduced additional vertebral fractures in postmenopausal women suffering from the disease.

General Motors (GM) may cancel its $1.6 billion investment in Brazil if the economic and political situation does not improve. That comes from GM's president, who spoke to a Brazilian newspaper.

AT&T (T) and Intel (INTC) have formed a partnership to test drone functionality and potential interference. Separately, AT&T is investing about $10 billion to boost its global enterprise services division.

21st Century Fox's (FOXA) "Deadpool" topped the weekend box office once again, with $55 million in North American ticket sales. It was the second consecutive No. 1 showing for the R-rated superhero movie.

WATERCOOLER

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 and curved screen S7 Edge as well as another big push into virtual reality. Sony (SNE) has unveiled a host of interactive smart products. And LG has released a modular smartphone. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) has joined with Intel and Nokia and carriers including Deutsche Telekom to share information about designing cellular networks, and making these blueprints available for anyone to use and improve upon. (WSJ)

Financial services firm Visa (V) wants to turn cars into a mobile payments platform, just like using your smartphone or a traditional credit card. Visa teamed up with Honda (HMC) to create the app that can be accessed via the car's dashboard.