Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Target (TGT) is dominating the news cycle after it announced plans to increase pay, the latest move by a major retailer to pay its employees more in both a sign of increasing competition for talent and (perhaps skeptically) a savvy move for some good PR. Facebook, meanwhile, has been hit with a lawsuit that alleges the company wrongfully terminated an employee after she complained about gender and racial discrimination. The company denies the allegations.
In the markets this morning, the U.S. dollar is rebounding strongly in trade in Asia and Europe as currency traders shrug off Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s doveish remarks about the outlook for interest rates at her press conference Wednesday.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Target latest retailer to boost pay
Target is planning to increase the starting salary of its workers to $9 an hour beginning next month, a move that comes after rival Wal-Mart (WMT) last month said it was spending $1 billion to increase hourly wages for its current U.S. store associates beginning in April. Those increases reflect a scarcer supply of workers and growing competition for them. Separately, Target has agreed to pay $10 million in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit related to the massive 2013 data breach, court documents show.
2. Facebook sued for sex discrimination
A former employee of Facebook (FB) has sued the social-media giant, accusing it of gender and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment. Chia Hong, a former employee, said she suffered three years of harassment during stints as a program manager and technology partner. She also alleges she was wrongfully terminated in October 2013 after she complained about the harassment. Notably, the case was taken on by lawyers who are involved in another high-profile gender discrimination case between former venture capitalist Ellen Pao and Silicon Valley investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Facebook, says it has “substantive disagreements on the facts” of the case, and says it believes it treated the employee fairly.
3. Major banks struggle to ditch oil loans
Major banks including Goldman Sachs (GS) and Citigroup (C) have struggled to ditch loans they made to the energy companies, signaling investors’ jitters in a sector beaten down by low oil prices. The banks face tens of millions of dollars in losses on the loans they made to the energy companies last year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Beyond the pain felt by the banks, Wall Street’s losses could hurt the ability of oil companies to fund their operations as investors are more cautious about lending to the sector.
4. Nike poised to report another strong quarter
Nike, the world’s largest athletic gear maker, is poised to report a roughly 10% increase in both sales and profit for the company’s latest quarterly report as the company’s business is seen as robust worldwide. At home, the company and its competition are benefiting from the “athleisure” trend — athletic gear is being increasingly worn not only at the gym, but also for errands around town and as daily clothing not meant for athletic activities. That trend has lifted the entire sector, but also lured more competition. Analysts are warning investors to be mindful of the strength of the U.S. dollar, which has pressured many multinational corporations in the latest earnings cycle.
5. Electronics maker Sharp to cut 12% of workforce
Japan’s Sharp is expected to cut about 6,000 jobs in a global restructuring expected to cost the company more than $1.7 billion, according to a Reuters report. Half of those job losses would come through early retirement while the rest would be overseas, according to a person familiar with the matter. Sharp is on track for its third annual net loss in four years, as the company’s panel-making business has faced market pressure.