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Futures point to positive end to 2016 as billions pour into stocks

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Futures are modestly higher ahead of 2016's final trading day, and although it appears unlikely the Dow will break 20,000, it is on track for its best yearly percentage gain since 2013. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 are also on track to break records. (CNBC)

Oil prices are approaching their biggest yearly percentage gain since 2009, brushing off an unexpected jump in U.S. crude output and instead focusing on the agreement to cut production between OPEC and non-OPEC countries. (Reuters)

U.S. stock funds welcomed $11.8 billion from investors over the course of a week, data showed, marking the end of 2016 as an enthusiastic return to stocks. Investors also took $775 million from taxable bond funds in the same week. (Reuters)

Shares of cash-strapped Sears rose Thursday as the department store company secured a $200 million line of credit from its CEO's hedge fund. The credit can be boosted up to $500 million, and will be used to fund operations. (WSJ)

Uber expects to provide 15 million rides across its 450 cities on the ride-hailing company's busiest night of the year, New Year's Eve, three times as many rides as in 2015. (Recode)

Representatives of the hip-hop group Run-DMC are suing Amazon, Wal-Mart, and a handful of other retailers for $50 million. The lawsuit claims the retailers sold products with the group's name without permission. (USA Today)

Snapchat parent Snap Inc. will market its upcoming initial public offering by embracing a vision that the company can become a massive content distributor like Facebook, sources told The Wall Street Journal. (WSJ)

Contract renewal negotiations between cable company Charter Communications and CNBC parent company NBCUniversal ground to a halt Thursday, an impasse that could lead to Charter shutting down NBC channels on New Year's Day. (LA Times)

Chipmaker Qualcomm said it reached a global patent-licensing agreement with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu. The move solidifies Qualcomm's hold on the Chinese smartphone market. (WSJ)

Moscow on Friday quickly responded to U.S. sanctions, announcing plans to expel 35 U.S. diplomats and ban U.S. officials from using certain Russian facilities. The move came a day after President Barack Obama announced similar measures for what it said was Russian state-sponsored hacking before the U.S. election. (CNBC)

President-elect Donald Trump played down concerns over Russian interference in the U.S. election that led to the sanctions, but agreed to meet with intelligence officials next week for a briefing. (CNBC)

Snap Inc. may be the biggest tech player gearing up for an initial public offering in 2017, but over a dozen obscure software companies like Apttus, Tintri, and Okta could be just as important to a stale IPO market, analysts say. (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

The year's final economic report comes at 9:45 a.m. ET, when the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index is released. Consensus forecasts call for a reading of 56.8 for December, still well into expansion territory, but down from November's 57.6.

No earnings reports are due today.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Mylan (MYL) is among our stocks to watch, after the drugmaker announced the launch of a generic version of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Concerta, a drug designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) was awarded a $450 million modification contract by the Pentagon related to the development and delivery of F-35A aircraft to South Korea.

General Dynamics (GD) was awarded a $324.5 million modification contract by the Navy for ESB (Expeditionary Sea Base) 5.

Gulfport Energy (GPOR) Chief Financial Officer Aaron Gaydosik is resigning, effective Jan. 4, to pursue other opportunities.

Petrobras (PBR) announced a number of asset sales to end the year, but the Brazilian state-run oil company fell short of the $15.1 billion it had planned to divest for 2015 and 2016. Asset sales for the two years totaled $13.6 billion.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has been asked by shareholder groups to create an investor committee to improve corporate governance.

Apple (AAPL) iPhones will be made in Bengaluru, India, beginning in April, according to a Times of India report. Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer Wistron is building a factory that will make those phones.


WATERCOOLER

Millions have fallen victim to the trend of fake news in 2016, especially during the election cycle. From the pope's supposed endorsement of Trump to Hillary Clinton's purported weapons sales to ISIS, here are some of this year's most far-fetched fake stories. (CNBC)

Tennis champion Serena Williams got engaged to Alexis Ohainan, co-founder of internet media company Reddit. The couple announced the engagement Thursday. (Reuters)