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  • The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates Wednesday for the first time this year.
  • Oil prices fell to three-month lows after OPEC reported that crude inventories in developed countries had risen above the five-year average in January despite production cuts by some of the world’s largest exporters.


OPEC Cut Back Crude Output amid Rebound in U.S. Shale Supply

  • OPEC said its production decreased 139,500 barrels a day in February, to average 31.96 million barrels a day.
  • The decrease was largely driven by Saudi Arabia, which cut 68,100 barrels a day last month to 9.8 million barrels a day.
  • Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, has reduced its output by 797,000 barrels a day since October.
  • A total of 24 producers inside and outside the organization agreed to lower aggregate output by 1.8 million barrels a day.
  • Non-OPEC oil supply could grow by 400,000 barrels a day.
  • Much of the upgrade in non-OPEC supply is based on higher-than-expected growth in the supply from U.S. shale-oil and Canadian oil-sands operations, both of which need relatively high oil prices to break even.

Snapchat 2017 ad revenue forecast trimmed to $770 million: eMarketer

  • The 2017 advertising revenue forecast for Snap’s Snapchat has been trimmed by $30 million due to higher than expected revenue sharing with its partners.
  • The U.S. digital advertising market is expected to reach $83 billion, an increase of nearly 16 percent from last year.
  • Facebook’s share of the U.S. digital ad market is likely to increase to nearly 20 percent this year and Alphabet’s Google will still command nearly 41 percent, eMarketer projected.

William Ackman’s Pershing Square Sold Stake in Valeant

  • William Ackman’s Pershing Square sold its stake in struggling drugmaker Valeant, taking a roughly $4 billion loss and bringing to a close one of the most tortured sagas in hedge-fund history.
  • Mr. Ackman once predicted Valeant would be the next Berkshire Hathaway Inc., saying its shares could hit $330. The stock closed Monday at $12.11.
  • Mr. Ackman sold the stake after concluding that he couldn’t recover his losses on the stock.
  • At that price, the 8% stake Mr. Ackman parted with would be worth about $330 million, down from what had once been worth about $5 billion.

Neiman Marcus says exploring alternatives, including sale

  • Luxury fashion retailer Neiman Marcus said on Tuesday it was exploring strategic alternatives.
  • The private-equity firms that own Neiman Marcus are in discussions to sell the struggling retail chain to rival Hudson’s Bay.

Charles Schwab launches hybrid human-robo financial advice

  • Charles Schwab launched a service that combines its automated investment management technology with human advisors, as financial institutions race to offer digital financial advice.
  • The service, called Schwab Intelligent Advisory, provides clients with a financial and investment plan, unlimited access to a human advisor via phone or video conference, and an investment portfolio of exchange-traded funds managed by computer algorithms.
  • The service, for clients with at least $25,000 to invest, includes an online platform that keeps track of financial goals and retirement plans.
  • It will charge a 0.28 percent fee on assets, with a quarterly maximum of $900.
  • The service comes less than two months after Betterment, one of the first and largest online wealth managers known as robo-advisers, said it would offer two similar hybrid plans, with minimum investments of $100,000 and $250,000.

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CBO Sees 24 Million More Uninsured, $337 Billion Deficit Cut in Coming Decade with GOP Health Plan

  • The number of Americans without health insurance would grow by 24 million under a House Republican proposal to topple most of the Affordable Care Act.
  • The CBO also found the legislation would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade and would lead insurance premiums to increase at first, then shrink.

Student-Loan Defaults Rose by 1.1 Million in 2016

  • Roughly 8 million people owing $137 billion were in default.
  • The government considers a borrower in default after 270 days of no payment.
  • In total, roughly 42 million Americans owed roughly $1.3 trillion in federal student debt as of Dec. 31.
  • Total debt rose by $80 billion last year.

H-1B Visas Keep Down U.S. Tech Wages, Study Shows

  • A new research paper on the effects of the H-1B visa program on workers suggests the influx of skilled foreign workers has historically led to lower wages and employment for American tech workers.
  • Economists from the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Diego, analyzed employment, wages and other factors over an eight-year period ending in 2001. They found that, while the visa program bolstered the U.S. economy and corporate profits, tech-industry wages would have been as much as 5.1% higher in the absence of the H-1B visa program and employment of U.S. workers in the field would have been as much as 10.8% higher in 2001.

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Saudi Arabia Says It Has Reversed a Third of Its Production Cuts

  • Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised output back above 10 million barrels a day in February, reversing about a third of the cuts it made the previous month.

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  • The cotton gin was patented by Eli Whitney (1794)
  • The FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list made its debut (1950)
  • The Soviet Congress voted Mikhail Gorbachev into the newly-created and powerful position of president (1990)

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