Welcome to CapBiz A.M., your morning primer on business news with a focus on Washington.

Moving on up: Washington is quickly climbing the ranks of the world’s largest financial centers, topping traditional financial centers like Singapore, Toronto and Chicago in the latest rankings by the Global Financial Centres Index. Meanwhile, for the first time, there’s a new city at the top of the world rankings. (WP)

Wild ride: It’s been quite a week for Fairfax developer the Peterson Cos. First the firm made big headlines by opening a $15 million, 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel at National Harbor. Now, the company is inching closer to a deal for what might be National Harbor 2.0 on 10 acres in Virginia Beach. (CAPBIZ)

Deal nearly done: D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and his city administrator, Allen Lew, plan to submit legislation to support the construction of a 20,000-seat stadium for D.C. United to the city council on Friday. The only wrinkle left to be ironed out concerns land owned by the city’s professional tennis team. (CAPBIZ)

Deal nearly done II: After more than three months of negotiations, partners at Patton Boggs and Squire Sanders are coming close to completing their vote on the proposed combination of the two firms, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. (CAPBIZ)

High price on privacy: Silent Circle, a Maryland-based mobile security company that is developing a more secure smartphone, has secured a $30 million investment venture capitalist Ross Perot Jr. and the private investment fund Cain Capital. Question is, would that have happened without Edward Snowden? (CAPBIZ)

Pups welcome: Just what you were looking for, right – matching sofas for you and your pet? On Friday, furniture retailer Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams will open its new Tysons Galleria 10,000-square-foot, dog-friendly location in Tysons Galleria. (CAPBIZ)

Contractors beware: As the U.S. government tries to crack down on wasteful spending, the number of companies suspended and prohibited from federal contracting has grown significantly. Even those agencies that previously were the least likely to end ties with questionable contractors are now taking action more frequently. (WP)

DOD shorted: The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General has issued a report claiming Northrop Grumman overcharged for labor by more than $100 million on one of the agency’s contracts. More than half of the company’s workers did not meet the labor requirements for the contract, the OIG says. (WBJ)

Smoke signals: Reynolds American Inc. is reportedly in talks to acquire Lorillard Inc in what would be a complicated, three-way transaction that could see British American Tobacco play a significant role in the potential merger. (REUT)

Anger at the arches: More than 100 protesters seeking a higher minimum wage were arrested outside of McDonald’s corporate headquarters near Chicago on Wednesday. Nevertheless, more protests are scheduled for Thursday, when the company holds its annual meeting. (CNN)

On Wall Street

Stocks bounced on Wednesday, now on track for a weekly gain after strong earning from the likes of Netflix and Tiffany. (Get the latest updates here)

What’s on tap today

Unemployment claims (8:30 a.m.)

PMI manufacturing index (9:45 a.m.)

Existing home sales report (10:00 a.m.)

Spring recruitDC event (8:00 a.m.)

D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s Champions Small Business Awards and Expo (11:00 a.m.)

Help: A primer on best practices for professional text messaging (SBT)

Follow: Silent Circle

Extra: Heading out of town for the long weekend? Here’s when to (and when not to) hit the road. (WP)