Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian indices were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei down 1.19% and the Shanghai Composite up 0.58%. Major European indices are down while US futures indicate a positive open. Now, here are 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
- Oil prices surged overnight with protests still raging in Libya. Crude oil prices spiked as the London market opened with Brent rising to near $120 and the West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTI) over $101. Click here for a guide to countries that will get slammed in an oil crisis >
- The BSE Sensex fell 3% in overnight trading on surging crude oil prices and concerns of another rate hike to curb inflation.
- Initial jobless claims were strong, falling below 400K. Read analysis here >
- There are reports that Obama is pushing for a major multi-billion settlement with the mortgage services.
- European economic confidence is at its highest in 3 1/2 years stemming mostly from surging confidence in Germany. The European Commission reported that an index that gauges executive and consumer sentiment rose to 107.8 in February from 106.8 the previous month.
- The 4Q Chinese consumer confidence index fell to its lowest since 2009 riding on the back of inflation concerns that have curbed spending. 83% consumers expect prices to rise in the next 12 months.
- American retailer Sears Holdings Corp reported a 13% drop in 4Q earnings. The company reported a profit of $374 million compared to its $430 million profit a year earlier because of declining sales. Yesterday Sears announced that Lou D’Ambrosio would be the company’s new CEO. Click here to see the 9 companies most likely to get acquired >
- The Royal Bank of Scotland posted a 4Q net profit of £12 million which brought down the bank’s net loss to £1.13 billion in 2010 from £3.6 billion loss in 2009.
- A British judge has ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to be questioned for alleged sex offenses against two Swedish women. Click here to see the secret documents that banks have circulated to prepare for Wikileaks >
- Unrest continues in Libya as Muammar al-Qaddafi’s 120,000 strong private army of mercenaries have taken to the streets to quell protests. Egyptians are now fleeing Libya to escape the violence. Here are the 11 countries most likely to fall next >
- BONUS – GM earnings are out the company has returned to profitability. Employees are expected to get $4,300 bonus.
- BONUS – Jennifer Lopez broke down and wept on American Idol after she had to send home a contestant who’s girlfriend is confined to a wheelchair after a car-crash in 2009.