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US stock futures soar ahead of government jobs report

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning ahead of the government's February employment report. But in the absence of strong rallies on Wall Street at the close, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq could break multi-week winning streaks. (CNBC)

Investors look to the jobs report, out at 8:30 a.m. ET, to see whether the data would back the almost-certain case for a Fed interest rate next week. Nonfarm payrolls for last month were seen up 190,000, with the unemployment rate dipping to 4.7 percent. (CNBC)

South Korean leader Park Geun-hye became the country's first president to be ousted by impeachment after a panel of justices upheld a motion to dismiss her over an influence-peddling scandal. (CNBC)

At least two South Korean protesters died today at a street rally staged by Park supporters. Earlier, some 20,000 police officers were on hand at demonstrations at the Constitutional Court compound. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House said. (AP)

FBI Director James Comey met senators to talk about matters related to Trump Tower, a congressional source familiar with the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election told NBC News.

The House Oversight Committee, responsible for investigating the executive branch, wants to understand how the White House is archiving Trump's tweets from his personal account. (CNBC)

Washington state plans to seek a restraining order against Trump's revamped travel ban, a move to join Hawaii, which became the first state to sue Trump over the new executive order. (NBC News)

Merrill Lynch, a unit of Bank of America (BAC), may not entirely do away with its commission-based retirement accounts after Trump ordered the Labor Department last month to delay the proposed retirement-savings rule. (Reuters)

Trump promised in a meeting with community bankers to strip away some Dodd-Frank financial regulations and ensure they can continue giving small businesses access to capital. (Reuters)

Native Americans from across the country planned to march to the White House today to protest Trump's approval of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. (USA Today)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Exxon chief, has recused himself from issues related to TransCanada's application for a permit for the Keystone pipeline, the State Department said in a letter to Greenpeace. (Reuters)

Spanish energy giant Repsol said an oil reserve of 1.2 billion barrels has been identified in Alaska's North Slope. The company said it's the largest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades. (AP)

An order from a World Bank tribunal for Venezuela to pay $1.4 billion in damages to Exxon Mobil (XOM) over nationalizations has been annulled, said a lawyer for the Venezuelan government. (Reuters)

Billionaire Elon Musk has offered to fix South Australia's energy issues within 100 days, claiming that he would do it for free if he failed to meet the deadline. The offer comes after several blackouts due to storms. (CNBC)

A late winter storm is expected to snarl the Friday morning rush hour in the Northeast. Snow totals could be between 3 to 5 inches in the New York City metro area, after last month's totals of 9.4 inches in Central Park. (The Weather Channel)

Volkswagen is scheduled to appear in court today to plead guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice, and for misrepresenting the capability of vehicles with diesel engines the German automaker imported into the U.S. (USA Today)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the group would work with Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google on the technical details that have purportedly allowed the CIA to hack their devices. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

With a Fed rate hike next week nearly a lock, CNBC analyzed the market trend before the 33 fed funds increases since 1994. Using the hedge fund analytics tool Kensho, we found stocks higher across the board.

In addition to the employment data, the government releases the federal budget statement for February at 2 p.m. ET.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Zumiez (ZUMZ) projected a larger-than-expected current quarter loss, and the stock was tanking in the premarket. However, the seller of skateboards, snowboards, and related apparel beat on its latest earnings and revenue.

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) was also under pressure after warning on forward guidance. But he beauty products retailer exceed estimates on earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter.

Finisar (FNSR) was just shy of estimates on quarterly earnings and revenue. The maker of voice and data communications systems also gave a weaker than expected outlook. The stock was tanking.

MGM Holdings is near a $1 billion-plus deal to buy out its partners Viacom (VIAB) and Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) and take sole ownership of the pay-television channel Epix, according to the Wall Street Journal.

PPG (PPG) is reportedly preparing a new bid for Dutch paints and coatings maker Akzo Nobel after Akzo rejected PPG's original $22.1 billion cash and stock bid as insufficient.

UBS (UBS) cut CEO Sergio Ermotti's total compensation by 4.2 percent to $13.5 million for 2016 after the Switzerland-based bank saw profit fall by nearly half compared to a year earlier.

WATERCOOLER

AT&T (T) is said to be near a settlement with the Justice Department over accusations its DirecTV unit colluded with other pay-TV providers to block carriage of the channel that airs LA Dodger games. (LA Times)

Facebook (FB) signed a deal with America's Major League Soccer and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision for exclusive, English-language rights to stream at least 22 regular-season games in the U.S. (WSJ)