Asia: Japan +1.1% to 18786. Hong Kong +0.5% to 24902. China +2.2% to 3298. India -0.9% to 28747.
Europe: London flat. Paris +0.3%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude -1.6% to $50.20. Gold +1.4% to $1217.90.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 1.96%
8:30 Consumer Price Index
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Durable Goods
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
Key Earnings before the open
ACIW, ACTA, AES, AKRX, AMCX, AMWD, ANSS, ARCC, BDBD, BIN, BUD, CCG, CHS, CNP, CNSL, CRI, CWEI, CYBX, DDD, EME, EXH, EXLP, FCH, FIG, FRO, GCAP, GOGO, HAWK, HEES, HSC, HSNI, ICON, IQNT, IRDM, ITC, KOP, KSS, LKQ, LPI, LTM, MBLY, MDXG, MGLN, MITL, MRGE, NTI, NTLS, NXST, NXTM, OGE, ONE, RHP, SDRL, SEAS, SFY, SHLD, SNAK, SNH, SNMX, SRE, SRPT, TASR, TD, TICC, TWI, VAC, VC, VICL, WAC, WNR, XCRA, ZEUS
Key earnings after the close
ABTL, ADSK, AEGR, AHT, AIRM, AL, APEI, ARUN, AVD, BCEI, BIO, BLOX, CERS, CLNE, CROX, CSU, CUBE, DGI, ECOL, ECPG, ENOC, ENV, EVC, EVHC, GPS, HLF, HPTX, IM, IMMR, JCP, KBR, KND, LYV, MAIN, MDRX, MENT, MITT, MNST, MTZ, MVNR, NMBL, NOG, NVAX, OLED, OUT, OVTI, PE, PEGA, PFMT, PKT, PODD, PSIX, RBA, RMTI, ROST, RP, RPTP, RRMS, SB, SBAC, SEMG, SGM, SPLK, SRC, SREV, SWN, SZYM, TPC, TUBE, TUMI, TWOU, UHS, UIL, UNXL, VGR, WIFI, WTR, WTW
U.S. stock futures are pointing slightly higher this morning – but without much conviction – as investors await the CPI and durable goods numbers, two key economic reports that factor central to the debate about the pace of interest rate hikes. More retailers will roll out reports Thursday, with Kohl’s Corp. the biggest to report ahead of the bell.
The FCC is expected to approve Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed “net neutrality” rules today, which will regulate broadband providers more heavily than in the past and restrict their power to control download speeds on the web. Cable and telecom companies are expected to launch a raft of lawsuits should the new rules be passed.
The ECB is willing to again accept Greek bonds for funding if Athens keeps to reform pledges, announced Mario Draghi, defending the euro zone central bank’s treatment of Greece. Greek banks have been relying on emergency liquidity assistance since the ECB lifted the waiver on February 4.
Cuba and the U.S. will meet for a second round of diplomatic talks on Friday, indicating that the process of normalizing relations is moving ahead. The new round in Washington will focus on issues related to establishing full-fledged embassies, the movement of diplomats, visas and access to equipment and banking.
Shares of Salesforce.com Inc. CRM, +13.30% rose 11%. Late Wednesday, the software maker posted strong growth in deferred sales, which measures its future sales from a subscription-based business model.
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) posted continuing quarterly sales losses, while announcing that it has been successful in setting the stage to convert 200 to 300 of its stores, including Kmart locations, into a real-estate investment trust, which could generate $2 billion in profit.
Kohl’s (KSS) beat profit and sales estimates and raised its dividend.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS) loss per share came in worse than expected.
Samsung Electronics has decided to freeze paychecks for its employees this year, as the tech giant struggles amid a slump in profits, heavy competition and a weak Japanese yen. The move marks the first time since 2009 that the company has frozen paychecks for all its workers.
Just a week after apologizing for bundling computers with an encryption-breaking adware program known as Superfish, Lenovo (LNVGY) said a cyberattack had taken down its website on Thursday. Hacker group Lizard Squad – which has taken credit for several recent high-profile outages, including Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox Live – claimed responsibility for the attack.
Spanish utility Iberdrola has agreed to buy UIL Holdings (UIL) for about $3B, creating a new listed power and electric utility. The deal values each share of UIL at $52.83, representing a 23.6% premium over Wednesday’s closing price.
RadioShack has received approval from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to auction off about 2,000 of its stores with an initial $200M bid from hedge fund Standard General. Standard is planning to keep about half of the company’s stores open and operate them under an agreement with Sprint (S).
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) posted another weak report, with a £3.47B net loss for 2014 after booking a £4B writedown on the value of U.S. offshoot Citizens. The bank also named Howard Davies as chairman.
Morgan Stanley has reached a $2.6B settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over the sale of mortgage securities before the financial crisis. The $2.6B price tag will more than wipe out the $1B in quarterly profits that the firm had announced last month. MS -0.4% premarket.