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Pause seen in Wall Street rally

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Stock index futures point to modest losses at the Wall Street open following a Wednesday rally that saw the Nasdaq post its highest close of 2016 and the S&P 500 register a rise of more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq is on track to post its seventh weekly gain in eight weeks, while the Dow and S&P 500 are still modestly negative for the week. (CNBC)

Oil prices lost steam in early trade after surging more than 5 percent in the previous session on a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories. (CNBC)

European markets posted modest gains in morning trade and Asian stocks were mixed, as investors digested the details from the last Federal Reserve meeting, ahead of the European Central Bank's own set of minutes. (CNBC)

The Fed minutes released Wednesday showed policymakers debated an April rate hike at last month's meeting, but concluded risks arising from a global economic slowdown warranted caution. (Reuters)

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday Hillary Clinton's support from Wall Street and fund-raising through Super PACs makes her unfit to be President. He also cited her vote to authorize the Iraq War and past support for trade deals. (NBC News)

The U.S. Treasury intends to send to the White House a long-delayed rule that would compel banks to seek information about holders of shell company accounts. The move comes after the leak of 11.5 million documents — the so-called "Panama Papers" — detailed how the wealthy shelter money in offshore vehicles. (Reuters)

Swiss authorities raided the office of the European soccer organization UEFA Wednesday as part of an investigation into irregularities in the sale of broadcast rights that were revealed in the Panama Papers. (Reuters)

In an annual letter, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said China may struggle to achieve "smooth, steady" growth, but he expects elite companies to develop there. He also said regulators have made the U.S. financial sector safer. (CNBC)

Yahoo's (YHOO) financial situation is becoming increasingly dire. That is the assessment of Re/code's Kara Swisher after the executive editor reviewed documents given to prospective buyers of the internet giant's assets. (Re/code)

Authorities said an exploding Takata airbag killed a teenage driver in Houston after the 2002 Honda Civic the girl was driving rear-ended another vehicle. The incident brings the number of U.S. deaths from the defective airbags to 10. (AP)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 20,000 Ivanka Trump brand scarves manufactured in China because they do not meet federal inflammability standards and pose a burn risk. (FT)


BY THE NUMBERS

The Labor Department will release its weekly look at initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists expecting 268,000 new claims for the week ending April 2. That would be down from the prior week's 276,000.

The government is also set to release February consumer credit data at 3 p.m. ET.

The Energy Department is out with its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.

A rare gathering of past and present Federal Reserve chairs takes place tonight in New York at 5:30 p.m. ET, with Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker all present for an event titled "When The Federal Reserve Speaks … the World Listens."

Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday (RT) and lubricant manufacturer WD-40 (WDFC) issue their quarterly earnings reports after today's closing bell.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported adjusted quarterly profit of $1.85 per share, 4 cents above estimates. Revenue was also slightly above Wall Street forecasts, and the company also announced a new quarterly dividend of 12-1/2 cents per share.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) struck an agreement with loan holders to amend the terms of its debt, according to Dow Jones. The drugmaker's shares are coming off their best two-day percentage gain in 20 years, although they are still down more than 80 percent over the past 12 months.

McDonald's (MCD) chairman Andrew McKenna will not run for re-election to the board when the restaurant chain holds its annual meeting May 26. McKenna has been chairman for 12 years and a board member for 25 years.

Sprint (S) will sell $3 billion in equipment to new entities, which will then lease the equipment back to Sprint. The arrangement will allow the mobile services company to obtain a cash infusion with better terms than it might get in the debt market.

Lexmark (LXK) is in talks to be bought by China-based ink cartridge chipmaker Apex Technology, according to Reuters. The printer and imaging systems maker had sought bids in the past, but did not receive offers to its liking.


WATERCOOLER

Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard died on Wednesday at the age of 79. The septuagenarian singer kept up a busy touring schedule until falling ill with and eventually succumbing to pneumonia. (AP)