10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Here is what you need to know.

BHP Billiton cut its dividend for the first time in 16 years. BHP Billiton announced revenue crashed 37% to $15.71 billion as the commodities rout crippled its business. The fallout is the company declaring a dividend of $0.16 per share, a 74% reduction from the $0.62 cents from a year ago. Additionally, BHP announced it would change its dividend policy to a minimum 50% payout of underlying attributable profit, which more closely links payouts to the cyclical performance of the business.

Valeant has to restate its earnings. The embattled pharmaceutical giant said in a press release, “…approximately $58 million of net revenues previously recognised in the second half of 2014 should not have been recognised upon delivery of product to Philidor.” Valeant expects its 2014 GAAP EPS to be reduced by about $0.10 per share and its 2015 GAAP EPS to be increased by about $0.09. The company expects to delay the filing of its 2015 10-K pending completion of the review. Shares of Valeant are higher by 3.4% in early action after crashing more than 10% on Monday.

Boeing has a new Chairman of the Board. Jim McNerney announced he will retire from his role as Chairman of the Board at Boeing, effective the end of the month. Dennis Muilenburg, who replaced McNerney as CEO in July, will add the title of Chairman.

Fitbit is getting smoked. The company announced adjusted earnings of $0.35 per share, handily beating the $0.25 that was expected by the Bloomberg. Revenue surged 92.2% to $711.6 million in the holiday quarter, which was well ahead of the $648 million that Wall Street was hoping for. However, the strong results were unable to lift the stock as the company said Q1 revenue would be between $420 million and $440 million, well below the $484.6 million that the Bloomberg consensus was anticipating. Shares of Fitbit are down 16% in pre-market trade.

JPMorgan is holding its investor day. The investment bank is holding its annual investor day on Tuesday. Investors are hoping to hear about how the bank expects to keep down costs without hurting growth. CEO Jamie Dimon and at least five other executives are expected to give presentations, according to Reuters.


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Bill Gates is siding with the US versus Apple. The richest person in the world thinks Apple should cooperate with the FBI and unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. “This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information,” Gates told the FT. “They are not asking for some general thing, they are asking for a particular case.”

German business confidence fell. The Ifo Business Climate Index for Germany fell to 105.7 in February from 107.3 in January. According to the report, German businesses were downbeat about the future for the first time in six months as the manufacturing sector saw its biggest drop in confidence since November 2008. “With production levels falling at the end of last year, manufacturers fear that the downturn will continue,” the report said. The euro is weaker by 0.3% at 1.0995.

Stock markets around the world are lower. China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.8%) led the drop in Asia and Germany’s DAX (-0.8%) paces the decline in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 2.25 points at 1934.00.

Earnings reporting remains heavy. Home Depot, Macy’s and Toll Brothers are among the companies releasing their quarterly results ahead of the opening bell. Avis Budget, Caesar’s Entertainment and Papa John’s highlight the names reporting after markets close.

US economic data picks up. The Case-Shiller 20-city Index is due out at 9 a.m. ET before both consumer confidence and existing home sales are released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is higher by 3 basis points at 1.78%.

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