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Apple’s Watch launches, and Comcast drops its bid — 5 things to know today

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

U.S. stocks are set to move higher Friday after the Nasdaq composite hit an all-time high, moving above its March 2000 record. Other market indexes are close to new highs.

Shares of Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) are higher this morning after the two tech giants reported earnings last night. Google reported weaker than expected results, but that seemed to be good enough for investors.

This morning’s must-read story is Shawn Tully of Fortune’s How the dollar store war was won, a look at how Carl Icahn and a bevy of billionaires brawled in the greatest activist contest of the millennium. You can watch a video on the story here:

Here’s what else you need to know about today.

1. Apple’s Watch launches.

The Apple Watch launches globally today, with a small queue of Japanese tech-addicts reportedly lining up in Tokyo for the company’s first wearable gadget, but there is no sign of the excitement usually attached to the company’s product rollouts. The introduction will be a fairly low-key affair. Apple’s retail stores aren’t going to be selling the smartwatch, but a small number of luxury boutiques are. Apple (AAPL) says it aims to ship at least 20 million Apple Watches this year, well above many analysts’ forecasts.

2. The deal’s off.

Comcast (CMCSA) officially abandoned its proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) Friday morning, saying the deal had been structured in a way that if the U.S. government didn’t agree, the companies could walk away. The deal had faced vocal criticism from some politicians, media company executives and diverse consumer and industry groups, who worried it would create a monolith with too much control over what Americans do online and watch on TV.

“We would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away,” Comcast’s Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

The New York Times reports that the Federal Communications Commission and White House positions on net neutrality were central to the collapse of the proposed $45 billion deal. The cable giants couldn’t overcome public resistance and substantive objections, notes Fortune’s Tory Newmyer.

3. The state of flying.

American Airlines Group (AAL), the world’s largest passenger carrier, reported first-quarter profit above analysts’ expectations as cheap fuel continued to help its bottom line. The Fort Worth-based airline earned $932 million last quarter, nearly double its profit a year earlier. Investors will be focused on American Airlines’ outlook on capacity after the peak summer travel season ends. Expectations are that American Airlines will reduce the number of seats it sells as demand from outside the United States remains weak due to a strong dollar.

4. Are companies ramping up spending?

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday March durable goods orders rose 4%, hinting at some growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Spending was unexpectedly down 1.4 percent in February, possibly hampered by a stronger dollar and falling global demand. The March rise suggests companies ramped up spending after some slowness earlier in the year.

5. Apigee’s debut.

Apigee, which develops software to manage Web applications, is expected to raise up to $92 million in its initial public offering, valuing the company at up to $524 million. The company’s software platform allows businesses to design and deploy application programming interfaces to link its core IT systems with data used by customers and others. The company primarily offers application interface management and predictive analysis services.