10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Apple store chinaREUTERS/Chance ChanWorkers preparing for the opening of an Apple store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Friday.

Here’s what you need to know.

Apple’s Latest Results Beat Expectations Heavily. In the final three months of 2014, Apple earnings per share exploded 48% to $US3.06, crushing expectations for $US2.60. Its iPhone units hit 74.5 million, up 46% and versus 65 million expected. The stock is up 7% in pre-market trading.

Yahoo Is Spinning Off Its Remaining Share Of Alibaba. Yahoo just announced its earnings, but the biggest news is that it will spin its stake in Alibaba out into a separate company. Existing investors will get shares in the new company, dubbed SpinCo. YHOO stock rose about 7% after hours.

AT&T Beats. The no.2 US wireless provider said it earned an adjusted net profit of $US0.55 per share in Q4, beating expectations by a penny. During the period, the company added more than 2 million new wireless customers and 854,000 contract subscribers.

Markets Are Mixed. Tech stocks are pushing US futures higher with S&P 500 is up 2 points and Nasdaq futures up 32 points.. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is down 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 is down 0.4%, and Germany’s DAX is down 0.1%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.15% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is gained 0.2%.

Investors Expect The Fed To Tread Water Today. The Federal Reserve is expected to signal it remains on track to begin raising interest rates later this year, as the central bank shows confidence that low inflation and rising risks from abroad have yet to derail the U.S. economic recovery.

German Consumer Confidence Is At Its Highest In At Least 8 Years. GfK’s consumer confidence index just hit its highest level in at least eight years, rising to 9.3. Analysts were expecting a jump to 9.1, from 9 in January’s figure.

Sony Looks Likely To Cut 1,000 More Smartphone Jobs. Sony Corp plans to cut another 1,000 jobs in its smartphone division, mainly in Europe and China, the Nikkei business daily reported. The cuts are in addition to the 1,000 jobs Sony said it would eliminate in its mobile unit in October, the Nikkei said.

LG Display Just Saw Its Best Profits In Four Years. Operating profit more than doubled for the October-December period from a year earlier to 625.8 billion won ($US580.14 million).

Nintendo Warns. “Japanese video game maker Nintendo Co on Wednesday issued a profit warning with a silver lining – even as it sells fewer consoles, the sharp weakening of the yen means overseas sales will inflate its net income this fiscal year,” Reuters reported. “The home of famed game characters like Mario the plumber said sales of its 3DS handheld device came up short in the year-end holiday season amid intense competition. While operating profit still grew nearly 50 per cent in October-December from a year earlier, the third quarter is Nintendo’s biggest by far and it won’t make up the shortfall by end-March.”

The Big US-Asian Trade Deal Is Close. The chief US negotiator says parties are nearing an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership is within sight, according to the Financial Times.

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