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Wall Street poised for strong March start

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher on the first trading day of March. Despite Monday's decline, the Dow broke a two-month losing streak in February, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq made it three down months in a row. (CNBC)

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton are looking at today's Super Tuesday nominating contests to pull away from their rivals and help accelerate their marches toward the general election. (AP)

The week following Super Tuesday has historically been a positive time for the stock market. In the six Super Tuesdays going back to 1992, the market has been higher one week later, according to analytics firm Kensho. (CNBC)

The market has not posted an across-the-board March rally since 2013, when the major indexes all rallied about 3.5 percent. But March and April are historically good months for stocks, according to Bespoke. (CNBC)


New York Fed President William Dudley said he sees downside risks to his U.S. economic outlook, an assessment that could lead to a longer pause before the next interest rate hike. (Reuters)

U.S. oil prices extended Monday's gains this morning, ignoring a slump in China's manufacturing sector that stirred fears of slowing demand growth, with markets instead focusing on a fall in American and OPEC output. (Reuters)

China's Shanghai composite gained 1.7 percent today, as stock investors digested the surprise move by the Chinese central bank to cut the reserve requirement ratio for banks, and shrugged off those weaker manufacturing figures. (CNBC)

Commitments by China and other major economies over the weekend have lowered the threat of currency depreciations that could fuel global market turmoil, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. (Reuters)

Apple (AAPL) and the FBI make their cases before a congressional panel today, regarding a court order to force the tech giant to help authorities hack the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. (Reuters)

In perhaps a ruling that could help Apple in the San Bernardino case, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled the government cannot force the company to unlock an iPhone in a New York drug case. (AP)

Yahoo (YHOO) may have to write down the goodwill value of Tumblr, more than two years after the struggling Internet firm spent $1.1 billion to buy the microblogging site. (Reuters)

Valeant (VRX) was higher in premarket trading, after losing 18 percent Monday on word of a SEC investigation. Bill Ackman, a large shareholder, expects the drugmaker to quickly sort out the issues hammering the stock. (CNBC)

The federal Medicare program and private health insurers waste nearly $3 billion every year buying cancer medicines that are thrown out, a group of cancer researchers has found. (NY Times)

President Barack Obama meets with Senate Republican leaders today, to press to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. (Reuters)

The State Department has released the last set of emails from the 30,000 messages on Hillary Clinton's private computer server, during her tenure as secretary of state. (NY Times)

Surrounded by a diversity controversy, ratings for Sunday's Academy Awards broadcast on Disney-owned ABC tumbled to near record lows, but they did not completely implode. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

The Tuesday session features key economic reports at 10 a.m. ET, with the ISM releasing its February manufacturing index and the government issuing January construction spending figures.

The nation's automakers issue their February sales figures throughout the morning, with analysts looking for an annual sales rate of 17.7 million vehicles for the month.

Earnings reports out this morning include AutoZone (AZO), Dollar Tree (DLTR), Kate Spade (KATE), and Medtronic (MDT), while today's after-the-bell releases come from Ascena Retail Group (ASNA), Bob Evans Farms (BOE), Ross Stores (ROST), and TiVo (TIVO).

Shares of Barclays fell sharply in London and premarket U.S. trading, after the British bank announced further restructuring, a dividend cut, and an 8 percent fall in statutory pre-tax profit last year to $2.9 billion.

Miner and commodity trader Glencore reported $5.8 billion of charges, mostly due to impairments following a slide in commodity prices, and a 32 percent fall in 2015 core profit.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) is considering a bid for the London Stock Exchange, which is currently in advanced talks with Deutsche Boerse about a potential $28 billion merger of equals.

STOCKS TO WATCH

SunEdison (SUNE) delayed filing its annual report, as an internal investigation into the solar company's finances continues. The stock was dropping about 20 percent in premarket trading.

Marathon Oil (MRO) is planning a secondary offering of 135 million common shares, and plans to use the proceeds in part to strengthen its balance sheet. The stock was lower in the premarket.

Crocs (CROX) lost 73 cents per share for its latest quarter, more than double the expected red-ink. Revenue did beat forecasts, but the shoemaker battles warned on outlook and the stock was taking a hit premarket trading.

Hertz Global (HTZ) slight beat estimates on earnings but fell short on revenue, blaming soft pricing in the U.S. market. The car rental company lowered its forecasts for the full year.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) could benefit from new gaming figures from Macau, which show that the multi-year slump in gambling revenue may be bottoming out.


WATERCOOLER

After logging millions of miles in autonomous-drive mode, one of Google's self-driving cars has finally been the cause of an accident. No one was hurt, but the car steered into a bus in the next lane. (CNBC)

Fast-food giant McDonald's is following in Google's Cardboard footsteps for virtual reality and releasing Happy Meal boxes that can turn into VR headsets called Happy Goggles. (CNBC)