Hello friends and Fortune readers.
A new week kicks off with a potential headache for millions of Americans: a massive snowstorm is expected to wallop the Northeast, with blizzard conditions forecasted to hit seven states. Already, thousands of flights have been canceled even with the storm not yet hitting the region, and you’ve likely noticed a run on your grocery store, or home-improvement retailer, for rock salt, shovels and other gear as Americans brace for the storm. Meanwhile, in international news, big news out of Greece related to a key election victory that signals a sharp shift in tone on austerity (the new people in control don’t support it), but interestingly, markets shrugged at the news. The week also kicked off with a handful of fairly sizable mergers and takeovers, deals that touched the telecommunications, food, and packaging industries.
Here’s what you need to know about today.
1. Airlines cancel flights ahead of massive storm
Airlines are canceling thousands of flights ahead of a Northeast storm that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned could be the biggest snowstorm in the history of the city. USA Today reports about 29 million people were under a blizzard warning as of late Sunday, with another 11 million in a winter storm warning, citing the National Weather Service. Delta Air Lines (DAL) reportedly canceled 600 flights alone on Monday, while the industry also responded by promising to waive flight change and cancelation fees as the storm loomed.
2. Greece’s anti-austerity backers form governing coalition
Greece’s Syriza party and the Independent Greeks have announced a coalition after Syriza won a key election victory after lamenting years to tough times in the European nation. The two parties have little in common, Fortune reports, though both loathe the terms of Greece’s post-recession bailout and demand that a large part of Greece’s debts to the Eurozone and International Monetary Fund are written off. While the new governing coalition is a shift in tone and signals a worrisome battle about lending terms could soon loom, markets shook off the worries, with weakness in European shares only lasting for about two hours.
3. Bitcoin startup set to open regulated U.S. exchange
Coinbase, which raised $75 million in Series C funding less than a week ago, is set to open the first regulated bitcoin exchange based in the U.S. on Monday. It is a move that media observers say could potentially increase trust in the digital currency and could perhaps better stabilize the price of each bitcoin unit. The value of the bitcoin itself, determined by trading on existing exchanges, has slumped to about $240 from a peak of above $1,200 in late 2013 as the currency has been hurt by some high-profile woes, including the collapse of Japan-based Mt. Gox last year.
4. A new week kicks off with Merger Monday
Monday is often the day when investors awake to news of new mergers and takeovers. There were at least three fairly sizable deals announced this morning, including AT&T’s (T) roughly $1.88 billion purchase of Nextel Mexico, which it is acquiring from NII Holdings (NIHD). Cereal maker Post Holdings (POST) is paying about $1.15 billion in cash and stock for privately held rival brand MOM Brands, which makes Golden Puffs, Malt-O-Meal, Cinnamon Toasters and other ready-to-eat food and cereal brands. In another fairly sizable deal announced today, packaging companies Rock-Tenn (RKT) and MeadWestvaco (MWV) in a deal that will give MeadWestvaco a slim majority stake.
5. Microsoft poised to issue quarterly results
Tech giant Microsoft (MSFT) will issue its quarterly report on Monday afternoon and analysts are expecting mixed results: a roughly 7% increase in revenue, though per-share net income is projected to fall about 9%. The software giant is facing great pressure to better compete in a world dominated by mobile devices, a shift in consumer attention away from the PCs where Microsoft has traditionally dominated. Microsoft has said that it is moving faster, and the company has made headlines the past few weeks for some recent initiatives. It recently unveiled details of Windows 10, and while hosting that event, offered a glimpse of holographic computing. A device, called the Microsoft HoloLens, lets users see and manipulate three-dimensional computer-generated images. The device is expected to be released this fall.