10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

Megan Fox Giorgio Armani Milan Fashion WeekMegan Fox attends the Giorgio Armani Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show during Milan Fashion Week on September 27, 2010 in Milan, Italy.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know. 

  • Asian markets traded sharply higher overnight as China’s Shanghai SE Composite gained 2.4 per cent. European shares are modestly higher and U.S. futures point to a slightly positive open. 
  • The European Central Bank has agreed to Greek concessions in a bid to move debt restructuring talks along, the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Fidler, Matthew Dalton, and Alkman Granitsas report. The ECB will exchange sovereign debt below par value, however it will not take a loss on the move. If advanced, it will mark a key milestone in Greece’s ability to secure its second bailout of €130 billion. Here’s who gets hurt if Greece goes bust.
  • German exports declined in December at their fastest clip in almost three years, down 4.3 per cent month-on-month to €86.7 billion. Imports also fell unexpectedly to €72.8 billion, down 3.9 per cent. Economists polled by Bloomberg expected an increase of 0.8 per cent. However, the largest euro zone economy still posted its largest year of exports in 2011, at €1.06 trillion. 
  • Rick Santorum rallied in the western United States as he picked up 28 delegates with wins in both Minnesota and Colorado caucuses, as well as the primary in Missouri. Santorum won 44.8 per cent of the vote in Minnesota, followed by Ron Paul with 27.2 per cent and Mitt Romney at 16.9 per cent. In Colorado, Santorum took 40.2 per cent of votes. The Missouri primary does not impact delegate selection. These are the 13 elections investors will be watching this year >
  • Yahoo announced that four of its board members were stepping down, as the company reshuffles management further. Chairman Roy Bostock, as well as Vyomesh Joshi, Gary Wilson, and Arthur Kern will depart the struggling tech giant. Replacements include former Rovi CEO Fred Amoroso and LiveOps Chairman Maynard Webb. Click here to see the strangest thing about Yahoo’s announcement >
  • Walt Disney announced that profits rose 12 per cent during the first quarter, topping analyst expectations at $0.80 per share. Revenue in the division including ESPN and ABC rose three per cent to $4.8 billion. However the company’s film unit was impacted by fewer releases and saw a revenue shortfall.
  • Earnings season continues in earnest today, with Time Warner, Visa, and Groupon reporting quarterly results. Already this morning, Time Warner announced earnings per share of $0.94, above expectations, as revenues surged to $8.2 billion during the fourth quarter. Analysts polled by Bloomberg forecast earnings per share of $1.45, and $0.03 for Visa and Groupon, respectively. Here’s everything we’ve already learned from the biggest reporters during earnings season.
  • Nokia will cut some 4,000 jobs as it shifts its production to producers closer to its Asian supply chains. Factories in Komarom, Hungary, Reynosa, Mexico and Salo, Finland will be impacted. Last year, sales at the company fell 25 per cent to 77.3 million units. Nokia is banking part of its resurgence on its new Lumia line.
  • Airlines will be forced to conduct greater inspections of their fleets of Airbus SAS A380s after cracks were found in some planes, the European Aviation Safety Agency says. The aircraft manufacturer has responded that there is a two step solution to address the problem.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association announced mortgage volume surged 7.5 per cent during the week ending February 3. That’s a reversal from last week when mortgage applications fell by 2.9 per cent. Refinancing activity gained 9.4% during the week. There are no other major economic announcements scheduled in the U.S. 

Bonus: Megan Fox is the new face of Armani’s beauty collection.

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