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Swiss shock the markets and big banks report — 5 things to know today

January 15, 2015, 1:33 PM UTC

Good morning friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street futures have erased early morning gains and are now trending down after a move by the Swiss National bank took markets by surprise. The bank unexpectedly scrapped its cap on the franc, sending the currency soaring against the euro. Meanwhile, European shares retreated, and Asian indexes closed out the day mostly positive.

Here’s what else you need to know to start your day.

1. Swiss National Bank shocks the markets.

The Swiss shocked global markets this morning when the nation’s central bank unexpectedly changed course, abandoning its minimum exchange rate of 1.20 francs per euro and slashing its benchmark interest rate. The nation ended its three-year-old policy designed to protect its economy from the Eurozone debt troubles. The move sent the Swiss franc soaring to a record against the euro and roiled equity markets.

2. Earnings reports: Bank of America, Citigroup and Intel.

Earnings season is ramping up. This week it’s all about big banks. This morning, Bank of America (BAC), the second-largest U.S. lender by assets, reported four-quarter profits that were down 11% due to declines in fixed-income trading. Earnings-per-share were 32 cents, just beating the average analyst estimate of 31 cents a share, according to Bloomberg data. It was the bank’s second profitable quarter last year as spending on mortgage disputes and investigations into foreign exchange manipulation cut into its bottom line.

Citigroup (C), in the midst of a pullback from consumer banking in several international markets, reported a slim fourth-quarter profit after taking charges of $3.5 billion to settle legal claims and overhaul its operations.

Intel (INTC) reports after the close of trading and is anticipated to report earnings-per-share of 66 cents on sales of $14.72 billion.

3. BP readying North Sea job cuts.

The energy giant will shed 200 staff jobs and 100 contractors in its North Sea operations today. BP employs nearly 3,000 people in Aberdeen, Scotland, the central hub for the offshore oil industry in the area. The move comes as oil prices continue to flounder below $50 a barrel, having fallen more than 50% in six months. BP (BP) said in December it plans to cut thousands of jobs across its global oil and gas business.

4. Samsung and Blackberry throw cold water on takeover.

Samsung and Blackberry have denied reports that Samsung is looking to buy the Canadian smartphone maker. Samsung called the news “groundless,” and Blackberry (BBRY) said it had “not engaged” in talks with the Korean-based electronics maker. Reuters had originally reported through anonymous sources that Samsung approached Blackberry with an initial offer price of $13.35 to $15.49 a share. That would value Blackberry at as much as $7.5 billion.

5. President Obama to address paid leave and sick time.

President Obama is expected to announce a handful of initiatives today that would boost paid leave and sick time. He will ask Congress to pass the Healthy Family Acts, allowing U.S. workers to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time. The White House will also outline a plan to help states implement their own paid leave programs, and President Obama will sign a presidential memorandum to grant federal workers the ability to take six weeks of paid sick time after having a child.

—Reuters contributed to this report.