Apple takes on phone carriers, Tesla vs. Toyota, and Amex at Sam's Club

U.S. stocks (^DJI, ^GSPC, ^IXIC) are trading higher by about a half a percent today. Traders seem to be just treading water ahead of next week's pivotal FOMC meeting.

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Here are some of the other stories Yahoo Finance is keeping an eye on today.

Apple and the mobile pricing wars
Apple (AAPL) has entered the mobile price war game by offering its new iPhone on an installment plan -- similar to the way some of the major carriers like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) are doing it. Today we have news from Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) about even cheaper payment plans. Yahoo Finance's Aaron Pressman is writing about this today and he says for consumers who want a new iPhone every year, these plans can make a lot of sense.

American Express at Sam's Club
American Express (AXP) has had a rough go of it lately; the stock is down more than 14% in the last year. The company's relationship with some U.S. airlines has been dinged and in February Costco (COST) ended its relationship with AmEx. But now the "don't leave home without it" credit card has struck a new deal with Sam's Club -- the Walmart-owned (WMT) warehouse club and Costco competitor.

Iran deal money trail
We've heard many presidential hopefuls, including Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, criticize the administration's nuclear agreement with Iran. Cruz recently told an audience at a Stop Iran Rally, "If you vote to send billions of dollars to jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given.” Trump has said that the deal will make Iran rich. Today we're going to take a look at exactly what money is involved in the Iran deal.

Toyota vs. Tesla
Toyota's (TM) Prius, its gas-electric hybrid car, is getting a makeover. Toyota hopes that the revamped hybrid will help turn around its steadily declining sales and take on electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) as they prepare their less expensive Model 3, set to debut in 2017.