10 things you need to know before the opening bell

RTR4UWPPReuters/China Daily China Daily Information Corp – CDICStudents do morning exercises with soccer balls on a playground at a primary school in Linhai, Zhejiang province

Here is what you need to know.

Crude oil is surging on news Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemeni militias. West Texas Intermediate is higher by 3.8% at $US51.09 per barrel following reports Saudi Arabia has begun bombing Iran-backed Shi’ite rebels.

Global stock markets are under pressure. US futures are tanking with S&P 500 futures down 14 points. Italy’s MIB (-1.5%) leads the way lower in Europe after India’s Sensex (-2.3%) paced the decline in Asia. China’s Shanghai Composite (+0.6%) was a notable outperformer.

Schlumberger will pay $US232.7 million for violating US sanctions in Iran and Sudan. The Department of Justice announced the company has entered a guilty plea for “conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).” Schlumberger left Iran in 2009 and abandoned its oilfields in Sudan in 2011, and now must remain out of those countries completely.

German consumer confidence is at a 13-year high. The GfK German Consumer Climate printed index jumped to 10.0 (9.8 expected) , its highest since October 2001. German consumers are feeling confident as a result of the cheap euro and drop in oil prices. Germany’s 10-year yield is unchanged at 0.215%

The Bank of Spain upped its 2015 growth forecast.The central bank now expects the Spanish economy to grow at a 2.8% clip in 2015 (2.0% previous) and 2.7% rate in 2016. Spain’s 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 1.29%.

The Philippines’ central bank kept policy on hold. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas held its benchmark interest rate at 4.00%, as expected. Thursday’s Statement noted, “The Monetary Board’s decision is based on its assessment that the inflation environment continues to be manageable.” The Philippine peso rose 0.1% to 44.74.

SanDisk lowered its first quarter revenue guidance. The data-storage chip maker projects revenues for the quarter ending March 29 will be around $US1.3 billion, down from its previous guidance of $US1.45 billion, because weak demand is leading to lower prices. Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Mehrotra noted, “We are disappointed with our financial outlook,” he continued, “We will work through these headwinds, leveraging our compelling product roadmap and broadening customer base.”

Chinese oil giant PetroChina saw profits slump to a 5-year low. The drop in oil prices has pushed PetroChina’s revenues down to 107.2 billion yuan ($US17 billion), its lowest in five years. Bloomberg notes the company is responding to the drop in profits by “holding back investment and reducing output.”

Lululemon Athletica topped estimates but lowered guidance. The company announced earnings of $US0.78 per share, outpacing the Wall Street estimate $US0.73 per share. Revenues rose 15.6% to $US602.5 million, topping the $US599.8 million that was expected. However, the news wasn’t all good as the company forecast earnings of $US0.31 to $US0.33 per share, well below the $US0.39 per share that analysts were looking for. Revenues guidance of $US413 million to $US418 million also missed the mark.

US economic data is light. Initial and continuing claims will be released at 8:30 am ET and natural gas inventories will cross the wires at 10:30 a.m. ET. Treasury will auction $US29 billion 7-year notes at 1 p.m. ET. the US 10-yr yield is lower by 2 basis points at 1.90% and the US Dollar Index is off 0.5% at 96.47.

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