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Will jobs report end Wall Street winning streak?

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, ahead of the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the government's February jobs report. Wall Street looks to keep its three-day winning streak going. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were on pace for a third straight week of gains for the first time this year. (CNBC)

Investors are hoping for a Goldilocks employment report: one that shows a growing economy, but not so strong that it raises the chances of Fed interest rate hikes. Economists expect a nonfarm payroll gain of 190,000 and an unchanged jobless rate of 4.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters. (CNBC)

Oil was higher this morning, after U.S. crude broke a three-day winning streak Thursday, as an uncertain production outlook stalled the market's recent rise. For the week, prices were up nearly 5.5 percent for its three consecutive weekly gain. (Reuters)


Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, fighting for their political lives, relentlessly baited and insulted Donald Trump at Thursday night's debate, all but pleading with Republicans to abandon the front-runner. But Trump's rivals indicated they would support him if he became the GOP nominee, in sharp contest to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney's Trump takedown earlier Thursday. (NY Times)

During the debate, Trump responded to Rubio's remark about the real estate tycoon having small hands and the implication that other parts of his anatomy may be similarly small. "I guarantee you, there's no problem," Trump emphasized. (NY Times)

One-percenters would see a $78,000 tax hike under a plan from Hillary Clinton, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It also said the proposal from the Democratic presidential front-runner would generate $1 trillion in additional revenue for the government. (CNBC)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his country to be ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time and to turn its military posture to "pre-emptive attack" mode in the face of growing threats from its enemies, official media reported. (Reuters)

As expected, federal prosecutors have moved to dismiss the indictment of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) founder Aubrey McClendon. They said dropping the case "would best meet the ends of justice." The motion filed Thursday came a day after McClendon died in a fiery one-car crash. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) has dropped an encryption feature in software for its Fire tablet devices, saying it was not popular with customers. Amazon's move has come to light at a time when Apple is fighting a high profile legal battle against the FBI in support of encryption. (TechCrunch)

Facebook (FB) is overhauling its U.K. tax structure and will pay "millions of pounds" more to the British treasury, according to the BBC. The social network will no longer route sales through Ireland for its largest advertisers.

Snapchat has raised $175 million in new venture funding from Fidelity at the same $16 billion valuation it raised in May. That means the disappearing message service has now raised around $1.4 billion in total. (WSJ & Re/code)

Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) agreed to be bought by AMC Entertainment (AMC) for $30 per share, or $1.1 billion including assumption of debt. The price is a 20 percent premium to the movie theater operator's Thursday closing price. Carmike was up almost that much in the premarket. (Reuters)

Facebook, Amazon, and Verizon (VZ) are all interested in the streaming rights for NFL's Thursday Night Football. Yahoo (YHOO) has submitted preliminary paperwork in the bidding process. (Re/code)

The fourth season of "House of Cards" is out on Netflix (NFLX). Shares of Netflix hit an all-time high in December, but were down early 15 percent this year. "Fuller House," a 13-episode spinoff series of sitcom "Full House," debuted on Netflix last week. (CNBC)

BY THE NUMBERS

Lipper said nearly $5 billion went into riskier U.S.-based high-yield bond funds during the week that ended Wednesday, marking the largest inflows on record into junk bonds, which had a rough time at the end of last year.

In addition to the jobs reports, the January trade deficit is also out at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, with economists looking for a $44 billion deficit after December's $43.4 billion shortfall. Meanwhile, the weekly report on the U.S. rig count from oil services giant Baker Hughes is out at 1 p.m. ET.

UDR (UDR) joins the S&P 500 after the close of trading Friday, replacing Keurig Green Mountain, which has been bought by private equity investors. UDR is a real estate investment trust specializing in upscale apartment buildings.

Tumi (TUMI) has been purchased by Samsonite for $26.75 per share, valuing the luxury luggage maker at $1.8 billion. Tumi shares soared Thursday on reports a deal was near.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) issued earnings and revenue slightly above expectations, the first quarterly report since being spun off from the old Hewlett-Packard late last year. The stock was strong in the premarket.

Ambarella (AMBA) beat on earnings and revenue. But the chip supplier to companies like GoPro (GPRO) warned on forward guidance. Shares of Ambarella were under heavy pressure in the premarket.

Gap (GPS) reported a 2 percent drop in comparable store sales for February. The Gap and Old Navy brands saw flat same-store sales, but the Banana Republic unit saw an 11 percent drop.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) beat expectations on earnings and revenue by wide margins. The gunmaker also gave strong forward guidance. The stock was sharply higher in premarket trading.

A new survey appears to show the worst may be over for Chipotle (CMG), with consumers showing more willingness to eat at the chain, as negative sentiment from the company's E. coli scare fades.

WATERCOOLER

President Barack Obama confirmed his family plans to stay in Washington after his term ends for "a couple of years" until his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes school. It's been decades since a president stayed in the nation's capital after leaving office. (NY Times)