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Wall Street higher despite more hawkish Fed speak

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher, heading into the final four trading days of March and the first quarter. After the long Easter weekend, Wall Street snapped a five-week winning streak with weekly losses. The Dow was slightly positive to for the year, while the S&P 500 was slight negative. The Nasdaq was off nearly 4.7 percent in 2016. (CNBC)

San Francisco Fed President John Williams told CNBC in Asia today he believes the U.S. economy is doing "quite well." But global developments are preventing a return to normalized interest rates, he said.

While the markets were closed Friday, the government said its final look at fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed growth slowing but not as sharply as previously estimated. (Reuters)

Oil prices were higher this morning, after a three-day break. U.S. crude eked out its sixth weekly gain, and poised for its first quarterly gain in three. (Reuters)


Pakistani authorities hunted for breakaway Taliban militants who once declared loyalty to Islamic State terrorists, after the group claimed responsibility for an Easter suicide bombing targeting Christians. At least 72 people were killed. (Reuters)

Belgian authorities today charged three people detained during Sunday's raids with participating in terrorist activities. Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll in last week's Brussels attacks rose to four out of the 35 people were killed in the suicide blasts. (AP & NBC News)

California legislators and labor unions have reached a tentative agreement to take the state's minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour, a move that would by far make for the largest statewide pay floor in the country. (AP)

Dell has agreed to sell its IT consulting unit to Japan's NTT Data for $3.05 billion. The deal helped the privately held U.S. computer makers scale down some of the debt it will incur for its pending purchase of EMC (EMC) (Reuters)

"Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" steamrolled past records, debuting to a huge $170.1 million over Easter weekend, despite being panned by critics. It's a shot in the arm for Time Warner's (TWX) studio Warner Bros., which has been reeling from a series of costly bombs. (Reuters)

Bernie Sanders swept all three Democratic caucuses on Saturday, with decisive victories over front-runner Hillary Clinton. But the math is still tough for the Vermont senator. (NBC News)

In the wake of personal accusations against each other, GOP front-runner Donald Trump and rival Ted Cruz opened new lines of attack on delegates and debates. (USA Today)

America gained another member of the Trump clan on Easter Sunday after Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, gave birth to her third child, a baby boy named Theodore James Kushner. (NBC News)

BY THE NUMBERS

A busy week of economic data is likely to drive sentiment, culminating in the widely watched March employment report on Friday. Today's economic calendar brings numbers on February personal income and consumer spending at 8:30 a.m. ET and February pending home sales at 10 a.m. ET. Tomorrow, Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks on economic and monetary policy and investors.

Business economists are more pessimistic, predicting weaker growth in corporate profits and the economy than they were late last year, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics. (AP)

Hologic (HOLX) and Centene (CNC) joins the S&P 500 index after the close of trading tomorrow. They'll replace energy companies Ensco (ESV), which moves to the S&P MidCap 400, and Pepco Holdings, which is being bought by rival utility Exelon (EXC).

STOCKS TO WATCH

Yahoo (YHOO) could be bought by a combination of Microsoft (MSFT) and private equity firms, if preliminary talks between the company and those firms pan out.

Apple (AAPL) is expanding into original video content for Apple TV, with the first show an unscripted program about apps. No other details were provided by the company.

GameStop (GME) beat on earnings and matched estimates on revenue. The video game retailer warned on the current quarter and full-year results, as it transitions in a marketplace that's seeing an increased online gaming.

Avon Products (AVP) is expected to announce a settlement with activist investors this morning. The agreement, according to Reuters, puts a new independent director on the cosmetics maker's board.

WATERCOOLER

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome thousands of children and their parents to the White House Easter Egg Roll today. The Easter Bunny is hardly a stranger at the White House. The tradition began in 1878. (USA Today)

North Carolina is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since 2009, which also happens to be the last time they won it all. The No. 1 seed Tar Heels face No. 10 Syracuse, with No. 2 seeds Villanova and Oklahoma as the other match-up. (USA Today)