We’ll see how well players outside this space can do.
1) The European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi, at a dinner last night, made it clear that there would not be more injections of cheap cash into Europe any time in the near future.
2) Rajoy to the European Union: drop dead. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy bluntly told the EU the country would not make the agreed-upon target of 4.4 percent deficit-to-gross domestic product, and would instead come in at 5.8 percent in 2012. Expect other countries, like Ireland, to miss targets, as well.
3) Big Lots shares drop 1.7 percent pre-market after the close-out retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings and provided first-quarter forecast largely below the Street’s expectation. Big Lots beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates on strong demand for its discounted products, with same-store sales increasing 3.4 percent for U.S. stores. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.83 excluding items, compared to the Street’s $1.73 estimate. It forecast first-quarter earnings of $0.75 to $0.81, below analysts’ $0.81 expectation. Big Lots has seen its gross margins fall as it continues discounting to keep up with rivals Dollar General and Wal-Mart Stores.
4) Sara Lee shares jump 5.2 percent pre-open — poised to open at a new high — after the U.S. food and beverage maker said it expects the spin-off of its coffee and tea segment, which will be moving to the Netherlands, to be finished by the end of June. Sara Lee’s move is part of a plan to split itself into a North American meat company and a European-based coffee and tea business. Each share will be split into two, one for each business. Additionally, in a separate statement, Sara Lee said it would pay a $3 dividend to its shareholders soon after the divestment of its coffee and tea business.
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