Here is what you need to know.
The Bank of England kept policy on hold. With a 9 to 0 vote, the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.50%, where it has been since March 2009. The only surprise was Monetary Policy Committee member Ian McCafferty dropped his vote for a rate hike, citing slower inflation. The BOE also left its asset purchase program unchanged at £375 billion. The British pound is little changed at 1.4604.
The EU lowered its inflation forecast. The European Union lowered its 2016 inflation outlook to 0.5% from its November forecast of 1%, Bloomberg reports. European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters while inflation is expected to remain low in the first half of the year, “It should then rise slightly in the second half when the impact from the past sharp falls in oil prices abates.” The EU hasn’t met its 2% inflation target since January of 2013. The euro is stronger by 0.6% at 1.1176.
GoPro’s quarter was ugly. The digital-camera maker announced an adjusted loss of $0.08 per share, worse than the $0.02 loss that was expected. Revenue for the crucial holiday quarter crashed 31.1% compared to last year to $436.6 million, but that was better than the $434.9 million anticipated by the Bloomberg consensus. Q1 guidance of $160 million to $180 million was well below the $287.2 million that was expected. “…we recognise the need to develop software solutions that make it easier for our customers to offload, access and edit their GoPro content,” CEO Nick Woodman said in the earnings release. Shares of GoPro are down 13% in pre-market action.
Les Moonves is the new chairman of CBS. Les Moonves is taking over as chairman at CBS after Sumner Redstone resigned his post amid declining health conditions. Redstone, who has been chairman at both CBS and Viacom since they split into two publicly traded companies in 2006, was named Chairman Emeritus. Sources told CNBC’s David Faber, Viacom’s board is expected to meet on Thursday to replace Redstone as chairman. Redstone remains the controlling shareholder of both companies.
Delta’s CEO is retiring. Richard Anderson is retiring as the CEO of Delta Airlines after nine years on the job. Anderson won’t be going far, as he will take over as the airline’s executive chairman. “Take care of each other and this great Company,” Anderson wrote in a letter to employees. Ed Bastain, who was the airline’s president, was promoted to CEO.
Yum Brands announced mixed results. The fast-food chain earned an adjusted $0.68 per share, beating the Bloomberg consensus of $0.66. Revenue slipped 1.2% to $3.95 billion, which was a bit shy of the $4.03 billion that was expected. Yum, which is spinning off its China division, saw sales at established restaurants in the country rise 7%, easily beating the 1% gain that analysts were hoping for.
Amazon might not be opening hundreds of bookstores across the US. General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani raised some eyebrows on Tuesday after he suggested Amazon would be opening 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores. On Wednesday, he walked back those comments. A statement released by General Growth said, “Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani has indicated that a statement he made concerning Amazon during GGP’s earnings conference call held on February 2, 2016, was not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.”
Stock markets around the globe are mostly higher. Overnight, Australia’s ASX (+2.1%) led the way up while Japan’s Nikkei (-0.9%) lagged. In Europe, the UK’s FTSE (+1.3%) paces the advance. S&P 500 futures are higher by 2.75 points at 1911.25.
Earnings reporting is heavy. AmerisourceBergen, AstraZeneca, Clorox, ConocoPhillips, Credit Suisse, Dunkin Brands, Madison Square Garden, New York Times, Philip Morris International and Ralph Lauren are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell. Callaway Golf, Genworth Financial, Hartford Financial, LinkedIn and Lionsgate Entertainment highlight the names set to release their quarterly results after markets close.
There’s lot of economic data coming out in the US. Initial and continuing claims, productivity, and unit labour costs will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Factory orders will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET before natural gas inventories are reported at 10:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 1.90%.
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