Porsche Verdict and U.S. Stocks—5 Things to Know for the Day Ahead

March 18, 2016, 11:04 AM UTC
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Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are higher and the dollar at a five-month low, as the Federal Reserve’s partial retreat from its rate-hike intentions boosts confidence for the world economic outlook and leads to the unwinding of some of the ‘safe haven’ flows into the U.S. currency over recent months. Crude oil futures are also joining in the party, hitting a four-month high of $40.81 a barrel.

Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Mathew Ingram and it looks into the question of whether or not the media is to blame for Donald Trump’s surprising ascent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Here’s what else you need to know to start the day.

1. Hedge funds left smarting by acquittal of Porsche bosses

A German court has acquitted the former CEO and CFO of sports car maker Porsche of manipulating the company’s share price during its takeover battle with Volkswagen 0.09% , dealing a serious blow to a seven-year battle for compensation by U.S. hedge funds. Hedge funds such as Elliott Management Corp and D.E. Shaw are still looking for up to €5 billion ($5.6 billion) in damages in civil suits against Porsche SE, which is now only a holding company that owns a majority stake in the VW group. They had hoped that a criminal conviction would bolster their case.

2. Stock market

Investors will look to send U.S. stocks to their fifth straight week of gains with a strong finish to a week that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average finally get back above the 17,000-point mark and creeped into positive territory for the year. The continued rebound of oil prices has helped steer the recent stock surge and, on Thursday, materials and industrials trading higher further bolstered the blue chip indices.

3. Tiffany Q4 earnings

The iconic jewelry retailer is expected to report fourth-quarter profit and revenue the falls short of Wall Street’s expectations. Tiffany’s (TIF) saw sales dip due to a drop-off in luxury and tourist spending as well as the strong U.S. dollar and the slowdown in China’s economy.

4. Apple engineers may refuse to cooperate with law enforcement

So far the Apple v. FBI debate has played out at the very highest level, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and FBI Director James Comey trading public barbs on the whether privacy trumps national security or vice versa. But workers who actually develop the technology also will factor mightily in the outcome of the battle, and their potential refusal to help law enforcement could further complicate the case.

5. Closing arguments in Hogan-Gawker trial

Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments today in the trial for former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media over a sex tape featuring Hogan that Gawker posted online. The wrestler is suing Gawker for $100 million and accusing the site of violating his right to privacy.

—Reuters contributed to this post.

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