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Dow tops 18K, can it stay there this time?

IN THE NEWS TODAY

With the Dow coming off its first close above 18,000 since July 20 and the best level of 2016, U.S. futures were pointing to further gains at today's open. Stocks in Europe and Asia were also stronger, particularly Japan's Nikkei, which saw a 3.7 percent rise. (CNBC)

The Fed is set to hike interest rates more rapidly than investors currently expect, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren warned last night. Central bankers project two more 2016 hikes, while the futures market sees only one. (Reuters)

Oil prices were higher this morning, as a strike in Kuwait cut huge amounts of crude out of the supply chain, but analysts said the disruption would be short-lived. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh tomorrow, just days after Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers failed to cut a freeze deal at Sunday's meeting in Doha. (New York Times)


Earnings are likely the key to whether the U.S. stock market rally continues. Three Dow stocks report earnings this morning: UnitedHealth (UNH), Goldman Sachs (GS), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). (CNBC)

IBM (IBM), also a Dow stock, was sharply lower in premarket trading. While beating estimates on earnings and revenue in the first three months of the year, revenue declined for the 16th straight quarter. (CNBC)

Netflix (NFLX) beat estimates on earnings, with revenue matching forecasts. But shares of the video-streaming service were plummeting in the premarket, after the firm issued weaker subscriber guidance. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO) has gotten bids for its assets from Yellow Pages parent YP Holdings, private equity firm TPG, and Verizon (VZ), according to various media reports. Yahoo reports earnings after the bell this afternoon. (USA Today)

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) accepted a $2.9 billion offer from Japan's Asahi for Peroni and other beer brands owned by SABMiller. The sale was a regulatory condition of Anheuser-Busch's $100 billion purchase SABMiller. (Reuters)

Federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into whether blood-testing startup Theranos misled investors about the state of its technology and operations, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Target (TGT) has started raising employee wages to a minimum of $10 per hour, the second hike in a year. The discount retailer is matching a move made earlier this year by rival Wal-Mart (WMT). (Reuters)

Competing on home turf, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, both front-runners with big leads in state polls, hoped to emerge victorious from today's delegate-rich presidential primaries in New York. (AP)

Vice President Joe Biden, who decided not to challenge Clinton and run for president, shared with CNBC reflections on his career, thoughts on the 2016 race, and the future of American politics.

BY THE NUMBERS

The government releases March housing starts and building permits. Economists expect starts to be unchanged, after a 5.2 percent jump in February. Permits are seen registering a 1.7 percent increase, following a 2.2 percent decline in February.

In addition to earnings from three Dow stocks this morning, Dow component Intel (INTC) leads the after-the-bell list. Discover Financial (DFS), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), and VMWare (VMW) also report quarterly results this afternoon.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Illumina (ILMN) was tanking in premarket trading, after warning about first quarter revenue late Monday. The maker of gene-sequencing instruments points to disappointing results in Europe and lower than expected sales of certain devices.

Rambus (RMBS) was sharply lower, after issuing light guidance due to rising costs and declining revenue from patent royalties. The chip technology licensing company late Monday did beat on quarterly earnings and matched forecasts on revenue.

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) reported better than expected first quarter revenue, although the key metric of revenue per available seat mile fell 14 percent during the quarter. Spirit said fares still remain low in the markets it served.

UPS (UPS) could be near a contract impasse with its pilots union. Federal mediators are likely decide soon whether a stalemate has occurred, a move that could begin a 30-day cooling off period before a strike.

WATERCOOLER

French fry fans might want to book a summer vacation to St. Joseph, Missouri. The McDonald's restaurant there is offering an all-you-can-eat fries option on its menu. (CNBC)