Here’s what you need to know in markets for Tuesday.
BP announces big cuts to spending. BP announced it will cut capital spending (the money invested in new exploratory projects) to $US20 billion in 2015 from $US22.9 billion in 2014 as the British giant is feeling the pain of low oil prices. The company reported quarterly profits for $US2.2 billion, better than the forecasted $US1.5 billion but much less than the $US2.8 billion in the third quarter of 2014.
Shell to dismantle North Sea oil platforms. Royal Dutch Shell will outline plans Tuesday to remove the Brent Delta platform, one of four platforms in one the UK’s biggest offshore oilfields. The move is part of a “multibillion-dollar project over the next 10 years that could be followed by other closures after the plunge in oil prices,” the Financial Times said.
General Electric told Texas job cuts are coming. “General Electric plans to cut 330 jobs in Texasin its oil and gas division, as it grapples with pressure on the unit from the drop in oil prices,” Reuters’ Lewis Krauskopf reported. “The company has warned that its oil and gas unit could see revenue and profit fall 5.0 per cent this year, as customers of its equipment and services slash capital expenditure budgets.”
Meanwhile, oil prices are going nuts. WTI crude is at $US51.02 a barrel, up 2.8% today. Brent crude is at $US56.58, up 3.3%. Prices have been rallying for four straight days amid signs of serious cutbacks in the supply chain. “We expect total Energy capex will collapse by 25% in 2015,” Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin said. “The sector accounts for 33% of S&P 500 capex and should drag total S&P 500 capital expenditure growth into negative territory.”
Greece outlines a debt-swap plan. Speaking to the Financial Times, Greece’s new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said that instead of requesting a write-off of its €315 billion foreign debt, the government would ask to swap Greek debt for two new types of bonds linked to growth.
Markets are up. US futures are in the green with Dow futures up 59 points and S&P futures up 7.67 points. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 1.1%, France’s CAC 40 is up 1.2%, and Germany’s DAX is up 1.1%. Greek stocks are going nuts, surging 8.9%. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.27%.
Australia cuts interest rates. The Aussie dollar got destroyed after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to 2.25% from 2.50%. RBA explained in a statement: “The Australian dollar has declined noticeably against a rising US dollar over recent months, though less so against a basket of currencies. It remains above most estimates of its fundamental value, particularly given the significant declines in key commodity prices. A lower exchange rate is likely to be needed to achieve balanced growth in the economy.” The Aussie dollar fell 1.7% against the US dollar.
Apple sold $US6.5 billion in bonds. The money it raised will go toward stock repurchases, dividend payments, and debt repayments. The decision comes despite the California-based company sitting on $US178 billion in cash.
The New York Stock Exchange suspends trading of RadioShack stock. The NYSE said Monday it was taking steps to delist the shares of the troubled electronics retailer. “The decision was reached in view of the fact that the Company does not intend to submit a business plan” to address its noncompliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards, the body said in a statement.
Get ready for auto sales. The big automakers will announce their January US sales stats throughout the day. Analysts estimate the pace of US auto sales fell in January to an annualized rate of 16.6 million units from 16.8 million in December. “Vehicle sales increased by 5.7% in 2014 to 16.4mn, as promotional sales, easier access to auto financing, improving balance sheets for consumers, and pent-up demand helped boost sales,” Nomura economists said. “We expect to see this strength continued into 2015 as consumers remain more upbeat on their situation.”
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