Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street is having a good morning. U.S. stock futures are on the rise following the S&P 500’s rebound yesterday from its biggest monthly decline in a year. European markets are also higher, while Asian indexes closed the day mixed.
A tentative debt settlement offer from Greece to the EU is also lifting the markets, and crude oil prices are higher again, moving above the $50 a barrel level for the first time in weeks.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Data, data, data.
BP and Lenovo reported their quarterly earnings while you were asleep. BP (BP) is facing a loss for the fourth-quarter of 2014, although its profits were better than expected given plummeting oil prices. The oil giant plans to cut spending by a fifth to $20 billion in 2015. Lenovo beat analysts expectations last quarter, bringing in $253 million. The Chinese electronics maker has doubled smartphone sales, thanks to its acquisition of Motorola last October.
2. Staples and Office Depot once again consider a merger.
Staples (SPLS) and Office Depot (ODP) are reportedly in advanced talks to merge into one large office supply chain. The move would be a major step toward consolidating the office supplies market. The two companies previously attempted to combine operations in 1997, but it was blocked by antitrust regulators. Given growing competition in the space over the last 18 years from the likes of Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT), the same merger is likely to face less pushback this time around. The financial details of the deal haven’t been revealed.
3. Amazon’s eyeing RadioShack’s leftovers.
Amazon.com is looking to beef-up its brick-and-mortar operations and it knows just where to find the inventory: RadioShack. The electronics retailer is set to file for bankruptcy, and Amazon has been in talks with RadioShack (RSH) to acquire some of the stores to use as a showcase for the Seattle-based company’s goods, reported Bloomberg. The stores would also serve as a central location for customer pickups and drop-offs. Amazon’s move would be its biggest push into traditional retail to date.
4. Standard & Poor’s settles.
Standard & Poor’s has agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve litigation that alleged the ratings agency knowingly issued upbeat grades to mortgage bonds ahead of the 2008 financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reports. A unit of McGraw Hill Financial, S&P will pay $ 687.5 million to the Department of Justice, the Journal said, and 19 states and the District of Columbia will share a similar amount. The company has reached a separate deal worth $125 million deal with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, the newspaper said.
5. How many new cars drove off the lot last month?
We will find out today when automakers report their U.S. auto sales for January. Last year was a blockbuster year for the auto industry. Automakers sold 16.52 million new cars and trucks, up 5.9% from 2013. Experts expect January to kick off this year with a strong start. Monthly sales should be about 14% better than the year-ago tally and are expected to translate into a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of about 16.6 million to 16.7 million car sales.