Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, March 15:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open flat Friday as investors await production data from the U.S.

European shares were trading lower early Friday while Asian stocks ended mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.5% to close at 12,560.95.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the Consumer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. EDT, industrial production and capacity utilization figures for February at 9:15 a.m., and the University of Michigan's sentiment index for March at 9:55 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday finished with gains as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its 10th-straight winning session for the first time since 1996, and the S&P 500 neared its all-time high on Thursday after a drop in last week's jobless claims bolstered confidence in the world's largest economy.

The Dow rose 83.86 points, or 0.58%, to close at 14,539.14.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.56% to 1,563.25, inching within 2 points of its record closing level of 1,565.15 reached in October 2007. The Nasdaq closed up 0.43% to 3,258.93.

4. -- The Federal Reserve approved a request from JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) to buy back up to $6 billion in stock through the first quarter of 2014 and boost its dividend in the second quarter to 38 cents a share from 30 cents.

The Fed did say, however, in its release of the annual stress test results of big U.S. banks, that JPMorgan had to resubmit its capital plan because of the central bank's concerns about "weaknesses" in its plan or planning process.

"JPMorgan Chase is fully committed to meeting all of the Fed's requirements," CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement.

5. -- Samsung unveiled its eagerly anticipated Galaxy S4 smartphone at a glitzy event in New York on Thursday night, launching another rival to Apple's ( AAPL) iconic iPhone.

Kicking off the launch, J.K. Shin, president of Samsung's mobile communications division, described the fourth-generation phone as "a life companion for a simpler life", adding that the S4 is "slimmer yet stronger" than its predecessor, the popular S3.

The S4 is just 7.9 mm thick and weighs 130 grams, compared to the S3, which is 8.6 mm thick and weighs 133 grams. Samsung's latest offering also has a 5-inch screen, compared to the S3's 4.8-inch display.

"In our view, the S4 possesses all the relevant new features for an industry-leading product," wrote ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall, in a note released on Thursday. "Most importantly, it features a large canvas (i.e., 5.0" AMOLED display) which we believe is critical as users look to converge smartphone and tablet functionality into one device."

6. -- Boeing ( BA) said Friday that its grounded 787 jets could resume flying "within weeks" after the company outlined a fix for the Dreamliner's lithium-ion battery system.

"We could be back up and going in weeks and not months," Boeing Chief Project Engineer Michael Sinnett told reporters at a Tokyo hotel. A third of safety tests have already been completed.

A Japanese official said it was possible flights could resume next month, The Associated Press reported.

7. -- China's National People's Congress appointed Li Keqiang as premier on Friday, putting him in charge of the world's second-largest economy.

Li, 57 years old, replaced Wen Jiabao.

8. -- Carnival ( CCL), the cruise ship operator, is forecast on Friday to post fiscal first-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share.

Meanwhile, passengers from the cruise ship Carnival Dream were taken to the airport Thursday instead of sailing home after an on-board generator problem halted the ship in St. Maarten.

9. -- IBM ( IBM) and EMC ( EMC) are among the companies in talks to buy privately held database Web hosting company SoftLayer Technologies, in a deal that could fetch more than $2 billion, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.

10. -- Japan's parliament on Friday endorsed Haruhiko Kuroda, president of the Asian Development Bank, as governor of the Bank of Japan.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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Copyright 2013 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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