Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Major Chinese exchanges were closed overnight, and the Nikkei was down 0.25%. Major European indices are lower in early trading, and U.S. futures suggest a negative open.
- Initial jobless claims fell more than expected. Read about it here >
- Protests continue in Cairo this morning, with the potential for more clashes between pro-Mubarak forces and anti-government groups. Thursday saw significant violence between the two groups. Check out these incredible photos of yesterday’s clashes >
- Yemen has also been hit by more protests today on its own “day of rage.” While the country’s president has promised not to run again in 2013, the public is not content with that promise. Don’t miss: The 11 countries at risk of becoming the next Egypt >
- Santander announced a year-over-year profit decline for the year 2010, down 8.5% over 2009. The Spanish government’s new rules on real estate loan provisions hit the company. Worried about Spain? See why it’s the eurozone crisis you need to watch >
- Two Japanese steel giants, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metals Industries, plan to merge to create the second largest steel maker in the world. The merger is planned for 2012.
- Merck beat both on revenue and EPS for Q4, with EPS of $0.88 over the expected $0.83. Revenue for the company was $12.1 billion, over the expected $11.528 billion.
- Factory orders increased 0.2% in December, beating expectations. Read about it here >
- ISM Non-manufacturing data crushed expectations. Read about it here >
- Copper surged to $10,000/ton for the first time in its history. The commodity responded to positive news coming out of the UK and eurozone. Here are 13 glaring signs the market is forming another huge bubble >
- Bonus: Megan Fox posted a Facebook photo album of pictures of her as a child titled “I look like Steve Buscemi.”