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Wall Street on pace for 2nd losing week in 3

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were rebounding this morning, after a rough Thursday on Wall Street. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were all down in three of the past four sessions. Ahead of Friday trading, the Dow was the only one still positive for 2016. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were surging about 3 percent in early Friday trading, after breaking a two-session winning streak yesterday. Later today, traders get a new look at U.S. production, when oilfield services giant Baker Hughes releases its weekly rig count at 1 p.m. ET. (Reuters)

During last night's panel with former Fed chiefs Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Volcker, current Fed Chair Janet Yellen touted the strength of the U.S. economy, countering recent comments from GOP presidential contender Donald Trump. (CNBC)

New York Fed President William Dudley, aligned with the dovish Yellen, speaks at 8:30 a.m. ET. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, more hawkish, speaks at 9 a.m. ET. Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan, largely with Yellen, speaks at 9:30 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

Japan's finance minister today kept up the warning against a rapid rise in the yen, saying the government there would take steps as needed. Meanwhile, the Nikkei stock index closed modestly higher overnight. (CNBC)

Pimco said it's identified four trouble spots for China's economy: leverage, non-proforming loans, real estate, and stocks. China has repeatedly said its economy is not headed for a hard landing. Overnight, the Shanghai composite finished modestly lower. (CNBC)


Under-fire drugmaker Valeant (VRX) won't put its eye-care giant Bausch & Lomb on the selling block, said Bill Ackman, whose hedge fund Pershing Square has lost about $1 billion on Valeant since taking a stake in March 2015. (CNBC)

BP (BP) chief executive Bob Dudley faces a shareholder rebellion against his 20 percent pay rise for 2015 — the same year the oil giant reported its worst ever annual loss. The company holds its annual meeting next week. (CNBC)

The decision by federal regulators to designate insurer MetLife (MET) as "too big to fail" was "arbitrary and capricious," the U.S. judge who struck down the determination last month wrote in an opinion that's now been unsealed. The government is expected to appeal. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO), whipsawed on Thursday, was higher in premarket trading, on reports Verizon (VZ) may come forth with a bid as soon as next week. Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Time (TIME), and private equity firms Bain and TPG were also reportedly interested. (CNBC)

Ruby Tuesday (RT) was slammed in the premarket, after missing on earnings and revenue, saying weather factors weighed on sales. The restaurant chain also cut its annual outlook. (AP)

Gap (GPS) was also under pressure in premarket trading, after reporting March comparable store sales fell 6 percent. The parent of Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy said it's taking steps to improve its results. (AP)

Uber agreed pay up to $25 million to settle a lawsuit filed by San Francisco and Los Angeles, alleging the ride-hailing service misled customers about its safety. "We're glad to put this case behind us," Uber said. (USA Today)

An 83-year-old convenience-store pioneer who built the Tokyo-based 7-Eleven empire said he would step down after losing a boardroom clash that pitted him against U.S. hedge-fund operator Dan Loeb. (WSJ)

A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows 7 out of 10 Americans hold an unfavorable view of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who reshuffled his campaign staff after his loss in this week's Wisconsin primary. (USA Today)

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he made a profit on shares of a Panamanian trust set up by his father and which was named in the "Panama Papers" document leak this week. (NBC News)

The price of a U.S. stamp goes down 2 cents this weekend. A temporary rate increase granted to the Postal Service in January 2014 by its regulators to help offset the lingering effects of the most recent recession is ending. (WSJ)

BY THE NUMBERS

There's only one economic report on today's docket. The government issues February wholesale inventories numbers at 10 a.m. ET. They're expected to register a 0.2 percent decline, after rising 0.3 percent in January.

In the proverbial calm before the storm, there are no major earnings reports scheduled today. But earnings season kicks off next week as Dow stock JPMorgan Chase (JPM) reports on Wednesday, followed by Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Ulta Salon (ULTA) joins the S&P 500 index after the close of trading next Friday. It replaces hospital operator Tenet Healthcare (THC), which moves to the S&P MidCap 400 to replace Jarden (JAH). Jarden is in the process of being acquired by Newell Rubbermaid (NWL).

STOCKS TO WATCH

Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) were higher in premarket trading, after an FDA panel voted unanimously to recommend accelerated approval of the drugmaker's liver treatment, Ocaliva.

Depomed (DEPO) now has activist investor Starboard Value as a 6.8 percent stakeholder, with Starboard saying it would nominate a slate of directors to the drugmaker's board.

AstraZeneca (AZN) and Eli Lilly (LLY) said they would move a clinical trial for a new Alzheimer's drug forward, after initial testing did not show any harmful side effects.


WATERCOOLER

World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, fresh off his two major wins last year, leads after the first round of the 2016 Masters. On Thursday, he carded his ninth consecutive round at Augusta National of even par or under. (NBC Sports)

American Idol went out big last night, naming its 15th and final champion as the one-time Fox juggernaut ended its run. The Season 15 winner was Trent Harmon. La'Porsha Renae finished as runner-up. (USA Today)