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Wall Street higher on 7th anniversary of bull market

IN THE NEWS TODAY

While 2016 has been rough for stocks, the bull market remains intact and marks its seventh anniversary today. The S&P 500 has gained more than 190 percent since the March 9, 2009. (CNBC)

That milestone aside, the S&P 500 was coming off its first decline in six sessions as oil prices lost nearly 3.7 percent and energy stocks tanked. U.S. stock futures, however, were higher this morning. (CNBC)

Risk assets have a "poor" trajectory ahead, and a possible Fed rate hike at next week's meeting would prove "really dicey" for markets, according to DoubleLine Capital's Jeffrey Gundlach. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices this morning were recovering some of Tuesday's sharp drop on hopes for an international production deal. OPEC and non-OPEC producers plan to meet in Moscow on March 20 to discuss an output freeze, according to an Iraqi oil official. (Reuters)

Chinese stocks dropped overnight, as investors gave Tuesday's lower-than-expected trade data for February another look, renewing concerns over the world's second-largest economy. (CNBC)

The Chinese government must continue to strengthen economic policy in the face of the tough challenges being posed by the financial sector, the country's vice finance minister told CNBC.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders scored an upset in Tuesday's nominating contests. He narrowly beat front-runner Hillary Clinton in Michigan but split the delegates. Clinton prevailed in Mississippi, and widened her lead. (NBC News)

Republican front-runner Donald Trump easily won the delegate-rich Michigan and Mississippi primaries and won the Hawaii caucuses. Rival Sen. Ted Cruz won Tuesday's other contest in Idaho. (NBC News)

Ahead of next week's winner-take-all primaries in Ohio and his home state of Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio failed to crack double-digits in Michigan. Despite high expectations, Ohio Gov. John Kasich ran a close third in Michigan, but he's still hoping to win his home state. (NY Times)

In the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journalpoll taken ahead of Tuesday's contests, Trump leads Cruz nationally 30 percent to 27 percent. Kasich got 22 percent support to Rubio's 20 percent. Clinton leads Sanders 53 percent to 44 percent.

Valeant (VRX) appointed three new independent directors, including Pershing Square Vice Chairman Stephen Fraidin. Pershing, run by activist investor Bill Ackman, is a major shareholder in the drugmaker. (Reuters)

Pfizer(PFE) announced an accelerated share repurchase program with Goldman Sachs. The agreement is worth $5 billion, a major chunk ofthe drug maker's current $16.4 billion buyback authorization. (CNBC)

Chipotle (CMG) temporarily closed a location in Billerica, Massachusetts, after several employees diagnosed with norovirus. This comes as the chain struggled with the fallout from several other food safety outbreaks last year. (Boston.com)

In its diesel emissions cheating investigation of Volkswagen, the U.S. Justice Department sent the German automaker a subpoena under a bank-fraud law. Separately, German insurer Allianz plans to sue Volkswagen over the sharp drop in its shares. (Reuters)

A red-bearded Islamic State commander described by American officials as the group's de facto minister of war may have been killed in an airstrike in Syria on Friday by the U.S.-led coalition. (Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country has miniaturized nuclear warheads to be mounted on ballistic missiles and ordered improvements in the power and precision of its arsenal. (Reuters)

Rapper "50 Cent," real name Curtis Jackson, appears in bankruptcy court today to explain an Instagram photo that shows the word "broke" spelled out in stacks of cash. He claimed the bills were all fake. (USA Today)

Often referred to as the "fifth Beatle," Sir George Martin, the legendary music producer who shaped the Beatles into one of the world's most influential bands, has died at age 90. (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

With investors looking ahead to next week's Fed meeting, they get one government economic report this morning, January wholesale inventories at 10 a.m. ET. The numbers could shed light on how much of a drag they'll be on first quarter GDP.

At 10:30 a.m. ET, the Energy Department releases its weekly report on oil and gasoline inventories.

It's fast becoming a tale of two mortgage markets, as interest rates move sideways, and refinances dry up. Total mortgage application volume increased 0.2 percent, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refis fell 2 percent.

Homebuilder Hovnanian (HOV) and handbag maker Vera Bradley (VRA) are among the few companies releasing earnings this morning, while mobile payments firm Square (SQ) is out with quarterly numbers after today's closing bell.

General Mills (GIS), late Tuesday, increased its quarterly dividend by 5 percent. Separately, the cereal maker announced the election of Kimberly-Clark (KMB) CFO Maria Henry to its board.

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google is announcing a major upgrade to how users can browse and book holidays. The new service, Google Destinations, is already available on smartphones.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Mentor Graphics (MENT) saw investor Carl Icahn cut his stake in the design software and hardware company for the second time in a week. The latest cut drops Icahn's stake to 4.7 percent from 5.4 percent.

Lumber Liquidators (LL) accused investor Whitney Tilson of creating confusion to make money. Tilson has taken a new short position. Tilson said the cancer risk from tainted flooring is greater than initially thought.

Carmike Cinemas (CKEC) may face resistance to its deal to be bought by AMC Entertainment (AMC) by its largest shareholder, Mittleman Brothers. Mittleman calls AMC's $30 per share purchase price "unacceptably low."

Intel (INTC) is buying for what's believed to be around $175 million Replay Technologies, an Israeli company that helps sports broadcasters show replays from virtually any angle.

General Motors (GM) disclosed that shareholders will be allowed to nominate directors to the board, but only if they hold at least a 3 percent stake. Separately, the automaker hiked its dividend.

WATERCOOLER

Blue Origin, the space company of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, expects its first test flights with people in 2017 and passenger flights in 2018. (Reuters)

In the latest battle between humanity and artificial intelligence, Google's AI system AlphaGo defeated Go champion Lee Sedol today in the first game of their highly anticipated five-game match. (NBC News)