Dow and S&P 500 face first back-to-back losses since January

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were relatively flat this morning, with the Dow and S&P 500 facing back-to-back losses for the first time since January. Both measures were still tracking higher for another positive week. (CNBC)

With a number of central bank officials recently opening the door for an interest rate hike this month, investors turn to Fed Chair Janet Yellen for some clarity when she speaks at 1 p.m. ET in Chicago. (CNBC)

Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaks at 12:30 p.m. ET, with Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, and Fed Gov. Jerome Powell also holding public appearances. (CNBC)

The price of bitcoin continues to rise, setting a fresh record high. The price for one bitcoin is now worth more than one ounce of gold, but this is less significant than it may seem, say experts. (CNBC)

Investors around the world are predicting a number of calamitous downturns for China's economy, but a team of experts from Morgan Stanley are making the opposite call. (CNBC)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he'll recuse himself from any current or future investigations related to President Donald Trump's election campaign amid backlash over his testimony about contacts with Russia. (CNBC)

Campaign-finance records reportedly show that then-senator Sessions used a campaign account for expenses related to last summer's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he met Russia's ambassador at an event. (WSJ)

Meanwhile, at least two more Trump campaign advisors also spoke with the Russian ambassador in Cleveland in July, with several more Trump campaign officials in attendance. (USA Today)

The White House is proposing to cut a quarter of the EPA's budget, targeting climate-change programs and those designed to prevent air and water pollution like lead contamination. (Reuters)

Mexico's economy minister is set to meet executives from Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) in Detroit today, as part of a visit designed to talk up the benefits of Nafta, which Trump wants to renegotiate. (FT)

Vice President Mike Pence used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana. Pence blasted Hillary Clinton for a similar practice when she was secretary of State. (Reuters)

Snap (SNAP) shares were continuing to climb in the premarket after soaring 44 percent on their debut. But Atlantic Equities downgraded the stock, a day after Pivotal Research initiated with a sell rating. (CNBC)

Caterpillar (CAT) was under continued pressure after slumping 4 percent Thursday on news that authorities searched three of its facilities. After the bell, the company said it believed the searches were related to a Swiss subsidiary. (AP)

Boeing (BA) unions confirmed earlier reports that the aircraft maker was offering voluntary buyouts, saying more than 1,880 workers have accepted buyout packages. (Reuters)

Costco (COST) missed estimates by a wide margin with quarterly earnings and also fell short on revenue. The warehouse retailer also announced plans to raise membership fees, effective June 1. (CNBC)

Uber plans to comply after all with California regulations and seek permits to put its self-driving cars back on state roads. It's an about-face following the company's legal fight with state officials in December. (Reuters)

Spotify has reached 50 million paid subscribers, growing 25 percent in less than six months and extending the Swedish music streaming service's lead over its closest rival, Apple Music. (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

It's the first Friday of a new month which sometimes but not always brings the government employment report. Today is one of those sometimes days, and the February data won't be out until next week.

There's just one economic report ahead of all of today's Fed speakers: The Institute for Supply Management issues its February nonmanufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET.

It's a light day for earnings reports, with Big Logs (BIG) and Revlon (REV) among companies issuing numbers this morning, with none on the schedule after this afternoon's closing bell.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Lockheed Martin (LMT) is holding conversations with the governments of Spain, Switzerland, and Belgium about potential sales of its F-35 fighter jets.

Autodesk (ADSK) warned on outlook after reporting a smaller than expected quarterly loss and better than expected revenue. The business software maker said moves to control costs and shift to a subscription-only model were going well.

WPP Group (WPPGY) cut its sales forecast for this year, with the world's largest advertising company citing a very competitive ad market.

AstraZeneca (AZN) and Sanofi (SNY) struck a joint venture deal to develop a vaccine for lower respiratory tract illness.

WATERCOOLER

The White House press corps arrived to work on Thursday to find that actor Tom Hanks had sent them a shiny new espresso machine, a repeat of his 2004 overture to the journalists who cover the president. (USA Today)