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Fed speak to dominate Wall Street trading

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, after Monday's strong early rally fizzled. Investors today focus on speeches from three regional Fed presidents: Philadelphia's Patrick Harker, San Francisco's John Williams, and Richmond's Jeffrey Lacker. (CNBC)

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan, appearing on CNBC's "Squawk Box" at 8 a.m. ET, said Monday in a speech it's too soon to hike interest rates later this month. But he's open to a possible increase in June. (Reuters)

U.S. oil futures were higher again this morning, as traders await the outcome of Sunday's meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers in Doha, Qatar. But hopes for an output freeze were dimming. (CNBC)


In the unofficial kickoff of earnings season, Alcoa (AA) beat on profit but missed estimates on revenue. The metals giant also announced up to 2,000 jobs. Meanwhile, railroad operator CSX (CSX) issues quarterly results after this afternoon's closing bell.

New crash tests of full-size pickup trucks raised questions about the safety of Fiat Chrysler's (FCAU) popular Ram 1500. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety assigned the vehicle an overall rating of "marginal." (CNBC)

Meanwhile, the F-150 Super Cab from Ford (F) received a "top safety pick" rating in the new testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The vehicle was the only large pickup truck model to receive that rating. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) has decided to shift production of a small crossover SUV and a $245 million investment from its Orion Township, Michigan assembly plant to the Fairfax, Kansas plant instead. (USA Today)

United Continental (UAL) is likely to strike a deal with activist investors within the next week or so. Sources told CNBC a deal would include more new directors for the airline's board as well as the possibility of a new independent chairman.

Following the lifting of nuclear sanctions on Iran, Boeing (BA) has opened negotiations to sell its jets there. The Islamic Republic's state-run news agency said Boeing offered three models of new aircraft. (AP)

GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump's political stumbles have not eroded his commanding lead in next week's delegate-rich New York primary, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll. (CNBC)

On the Democratic side, New York-born Bernie Sanders, who represents Vermont in the Senate, has been unable to overcome Hillary Clinton's lead her adopted home state where she won two senate elections. (CNBC)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told CNBC tax reform is "inevitable." The Texas Republican also discussed the Fed's shortcomings and President Barack Obama's trade deal.

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. small business confidence fell to a fresh two-year low in March amid persistent worries about sales and profits, the National Federation of Independent Business said today.

The government issues March import and export prices at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the March federal budget statement at 2 p.m. ET.

Tiffany (TIF), Michael Kors (KORS), and shares of other makers of high-end products could come under pressure today, after French luxury goods giant LVMH posted first quarter numbers that fell below analyst forecasts.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Facebook (FB) opens its F8 developer conference today, and the social media giant is expected to shed new light on the power of chatbots, live streaming, and the Messenger app.

Some 40,000 Verizon (VZ) workers may go on strike tomorrow in an effort to push for new contracts. The employees want the telecom giant to hike pay, limit outsourcing, and improve working conditions.

Viacom (VIAB) controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone opposes a plan by CEO Philippe Dauman to sell a minority stake in the company's Paramount Pictures movie studio, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Costco (COST) is telling shareholders to reject a "mini-tender" offer by private equity firm TRC Capital to buy up to one million shares of the warehouse retailer at $149.50 per share.

Goldman Sachs (GS) may wind up paying only $4 billion for its $5 billion settlement announced yesterday once tax benefits are taken into account, according to the New York Times.

WATERCOOLER

Led Zeppelin's lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page must face a U.S. jury trial over whether they stole opening chords for their 1971 classic "Stairway to Heaven." (Reuters)