Stock futures fluctuate on Wall Street ahead of Fed Chair Powell's testimony

BY THE NUMBERS

Futures were lower this morning, but whether that continues may depend on what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says before Congress today. The Dow and S&P 500 have recovered about 85 percent of their losses from the earlier sell-off, while the Nasdaq erased its deficit. (CNBC)

* Why European stocks could be the canary in the coal mine (CNBC)
* Stock rally could depend on whether Powell is hands-off on policy for now (CNBC)

Fed Chair Powell begins his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. ET, but the text of his remarks will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. That comes at the same time as a key economic report — durable goods orders for January.

At 9 a.m., the S&P/Case-Shiller report on December home prices is out, and is expected to show a 6.3 percent jump from a year earlier. At 10 a.m., the Conference Board is out with its February Consumer Confidence Index. (CNBC)

U.K.-listed shares of Sky (SKY) surged 20 percent after Comcast (CMCSA) offered to buy the British broadcaster for $31 billion, in a challenge to 21st Century Fox (FOXA). The NBCUniversal parent's offer is about 16 percent higher than Fox's prior agreement to buy Sky. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The Florida teenager accused of carrying out the deadliest mass shooting at a high school in modern U.S. history will appear in court today as the nation debates gun control. Nikolas Cruz is expected to be in a criminal court for a hearing on obtaining evidence from him. (Reuters)

* Trump claims he would have run into school during shooting (CNBC)
* Florida deputy denies he was a 'coward' during shooting (USA Today)
* Gun-maker stocks are trading like something is different after Florida massacre (CNBC)

The House Intelligence Committee is scheduled today to speak with Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's closest aides and advisors. Rep Mike Conaway, who is running the panel's probe, said he would not be surprised if Hicks refused to answer certain questions. (Washington Post)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to lead nuclear energy talks with Saudi Arabia officials in London on Friday, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. Perry reportedly scrapped a trip to New Delhi to create an opening for him to lead an inter-agency delegation to London.

Twenty states have sued the federal government over Obamacare, claiming the law is no longer constitutional without the individual mandate. The mandate was eliminated as part of the new tax legislation signed into law by President Trump in December. (Reuters)

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) announced this morning that its CEO Joel Manby resigned and named John Reilly as its interim CEO. Current Chairman of the Board Yoshikazu Maruyama has become interim executive chairman until a permanent CEO is appointed. (CNBC)

"Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli's hopes for a light prison sentence were dealt a huge blow after a judge ruled that his crimes caused a loss of $10.4 million. Shkreli, who will be sentenced on federal fraud charges on March 9, could get a prison sentence of 10 years or more. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) is launching a group of health clinics for its own employees and their families this spring, sources tell CNBC. The clinics, called AC Wellness, will initially only serve Apple employees in Santa Clara County, where its headquarters are located.

* Apple confirms it uses Google's cloud for iCloud (CNBC)

Sam's Club, a division of Walmart(WMT), is partnering with Instacart to offer same-day delivery, countering Amazon (AMZN) and Whole Foods. The partnership raises fresh questions about the future of Walmart's grocery delivery business. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Toll Brothers (TOL) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its first quarter, as the luxury home builder sold more homes at higher prices. Orders for new homes rose nearly 20 percent from a year earlier.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 86 cents per share, seven cents above estimates, with revenue also beating forecasts. The cybersecurity company's results were helped in part by a surge in sales of its firewall protection software.

Fitbit (FIT) reported a loss of two cents per share for its latest quarter, compared to analyst expectations of a break-even quarter. Revenue also fell below estimates for the maker of wearable fitness devices, and the company also gave lower than expected guidance as newly launched products fell short of initial projections.

Microsemi (MSCC) is in advanced talks to be bought by Microchip Technology, according to both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. The potential deal that would unite the chip-makers is said to be roughly in the mid-$60s per share, although sources say there is no guarantee a transaction will be finalized.

American Airlines Group (AAL) and Qantas are trying a second time to gain U.S. regulatory approval for a joint venture to coordinate prices and schedules. An initial request was rejected in 2016 after rivals Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue (JBLU) objected.

Broadcom's (AVGO) pursuit of rival chip-maker Qualcomm (QCOM) is being examined by CFIUS, the inter-agency panel that examines deals for possible national security concerns, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.

WATERCOOLER

The 2018 Academy Awards ceremony is set to take place on Sunday, but there's still time to catch up and view a slew of nominated films online. USA Today provides a list of nominated films available to stream.