×

Wall Street reversing February losses

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures are pointing to a modestly higher open and the potential for a fourth day of gains. The S&P 500 has gained 1 percent or more for three straight sessions, the first time that's occurred since October 2011, and also exited correction territory with Wednesday's gains. The Dow briefly wiped out its February losses during yesterday's session and is currently only 12-1/2 points below breakeven for the month. (CNBC)

Stocks in mainland China fell following disappointing January inflation data, diverging from Japanese, South Korean, and Hong Kong equities, which tacked on gains despite poor economic data. (CNBC)

Crude oil prices were higher on Wednesday after Brent surged more than 7 percent and U.S. crude settled up 5.5 percent. Iran's oil minister on Wednesday said Tehran supports a plan to freeze production at January levels floated by producers including Russia and Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio said in a letter released Thursday investors should expect "lower than normal returns with greater than normal risk" as central banks increasingly ease monetary policy. (CNBC)

Moody's warned global growth risks have increased since November in a quarterly report released on Thursday. The ratings agency said central banks have little ammo left after exhausting their arsenals to mitigate threats. (CNBC)

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard on Wednesday said it would be "unwise" for the Fed to continue hiking interest rates given declining inflation expectations and recent equity market volatility, marking a reversal for the hawk. (Reuters)

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday will vote on a proposal to let consumers swap expensive cable boxes for more affordable devices and apps. The change would boost competition in the $20 billion television set-top box market. (Reuters)

Toyota Motor (TM) will recall 2.87 million vehicles due to the possibility that their seatbelts could be damaged by a metal seat frame part in the event of a crash. (Reuters)

An advocacy group backed by big tech firms like Microsoft (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) defended Apple (AAPL) in its standoff with the U.S. government over access to one of the San Bernardino attackers' iPhone. The group, however, noted that companies must balance privacy and compliance with the law. (Re/code)

Amazon.com (AMZN) has been quietly inviting drivers for its new on-demand delivery service to handle its standard packages. The move follows previous reports that suggest the e-commerce giant is angling to control more of its deliveries. (Reuters)

Ted Cruz has inched ahead of Donald Trump among Republican voters nationally, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Cruz draws 28 percent, narrowly leading Trump at 26 percent in the survey, which contrasts sharply with other national polls. (CNBC)

President Barack Obama will visit Cuba in the coming weeks, the White House plans to announce on Thursday. The administration has taken steps to normalize relations and reestablish commerce with Cuba after more than a half century freeze. (Reuters)

European Union leaders meet in Brussels today to kick off a two-day meeting to hammer out a deal to keep Britain in the 28-nation bloc. EU heads will also aim to arrive at a solution to the continent's divisive migrant crisis. (CNBC/USA Today)

Turkey's prime minister said Thursday Syrian Kurdish rebels collaborated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to orchestrate the attack on a Turkish military convoy in Ankara that killed at least 28 people. A PKK leader denied the accusation. (Reuters)

Iraq is searching for "highly dangerous" radioactive material stolen last year that Iraqi officials fear could be weaponized if acquired by Islamic State, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. (Reuters)

BY THE NUMBERS

Key economic reports out today begin with the weekly initial jobless claims report at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists looking for 275,000 new claims for the week ending February 13. That would be up from 269,000 the prior week.

The Philadelphia Fed Survey is out at the same time, with consensus forecasts calling for a reading of -4.0 for February, slightly more negative than January's -3.5.

At 10 a.m. ET, the Conference Board's Index of Leading Economic Indicators is expected to register a 0.2 percent decline for January, equaling the December drop.

The Energy Department will be out with its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET, and with its holiday-delayed report on oil and gasoline supplies at 11 a.m. ET.

Dow component Wal-Mart (WMT) is the most prominent of this morning's earnings reports. Also out this morning: Discovery Communications (DISCA), Dish Network (DISH), Duke Energy (DUK), Hyatt Hotels (H), LabCorp (LH), MGM Resorts (MGM), Six Flags (SIX), SodaStream (SODA), Starwood Hotels (HOT), and Waste Management (WM).

Today's after-the-bell reports include Applied Materials (AMAT), Boston Beer (SAM), Nordstrom (JWN), and WageWorks (WAGE).

STOCKS TO WATCH

Wal-Mart (WMT) reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' expectations on Thursday, but revenue was light. The retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.49, 3 cents above consensus estimates. Wal-Mart also raised its 2017 annual dividend by 2 percent to $2 a share.

Ingram Micro (IM) has agreed to be bought by China's HNA Group for about $5 billion, or $38.90 per share. Ingram had closed Wednesday at $29.65 per share.

Devon Energy (DVN) announced a 55 million share stock offering, with the oil and gas producer planning to use the proceeds to improve its liquidity.

Jack In The Box (JACK) fell 10 cents short of estimates with quarterly profit of 93 cents per share, while revenue for the restaurant chain also missed analysts forecasts. A decline in customer traffic is also prompting the company to issue weaker than expected 2016 guidance.

Newmont Mining (NEM) earned an adjusted 4 cents per share for its latest quarter, 8 cents below estimates, with revenue matching forecasts. The mining company's results were hurt by lower prices, among other factors.

Marriott (MAR) came in 1 cent above estimates with quarterly earnings of 77 cents per share, while revenue was essentially in line. The hotel chain did report improvements in occupancy and average room rates.

Barrick Gold (ABX) lowered its 2016 production forecast, amid an overall slump in gold prices.

WATERCOOLER

Nike (NKE) said Wednesday it had cut ties with Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino boxer and politician drew ire for calling people in homosexual relationships "worse than animals." (CNBC)

More than half a million people have already downloaded a pirated copy of Kanye West's newest album "The Life of Pablo" dropped on Saturday. (CNBC)