Apple sued, Greece blinks and Walmart reports — 5 things to know today
Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street futures are down slightly this morning, while European indexes are mixed. Greece’s ASE index rose on news that the nation’s government submitted a proposal for a six-month extension of its bailout. Most Asian markets were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average reached a 15-year high today.
Today’s must-read story is Fortune’s Phil Wahba on Target’s new CEO Brian Cornell.
Here’s what else you need to know to start your day.
1. Greece blinks.
After receiving an ultimatum from EU officials, Greece relented today. The financially-indebted nation requested a six month extension to its current bailout agreement. The eurozone’s 19 finance ministers will convene on Friday in Brussels to review the proposal, although Germany has said it doesn’t like the request. Greece’s bailout agreement was set to expire at the end of the month, leaving the nation without access to over 10 billion euro ($1.15 billion) in aid.
2. Walmart reports quarterly earnings.
The world’s largest retailer reports its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings before the market opens. Analysts anticipate Walmart (WMT) to bring in earnings of $1.53 a share on revenues of $132.4 billion, according to estimates by Thomson Reuters. Walmart is hoping to notch a second straight quarter of same-store sales growth in the U.S. following an extended period of flat sales. The retail giant is also a bellwether for how the common consumer is faring these days, especially low-income shoppers. Look to see what it says about the effect of lower gas prices to see if consumers are spending the extra cash or squirreling it away into savings.
3. Samsung gets into mobile payments.
Samsung shelled out an undisclosed sum to buy LoopPay, a mobile payment startup. The deal would give Samsung the technology to go head-to-head with Apple Pay. LoopPay already markets itself as a competitor payment solution since it is compatible with existing Apple Pay systems in place across the U.S. It currently uses a fob or smartphone case to store the technology that can be easily tapped to pay at equipped retailers. The LoopPay founders will join Samsung’s Mobile Division to advance the smartphone maker’s mobile wallet capabilities, the companies said.
4. Electric battery maker sues Apple.
Chinese battery maker A123 System Inc. is bringing Apple to court over allegations that the tech giant poached five of its battery experts, violating their employment agreements. Apple (AAPL) has been waging “an aggressive campaign to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123’s business,” the company wrote in its filing. Apple has also reportedly brought on at least 60 former Tesla (TSLA) employees across a range of functions, from hardware, software, manufacturing and supply chain engineers, according to a LinkedIn review by the Reuters. The hires point to mounting evidence that Apple may be developing its own car.
5. SABMiller CFO is out the door.
Jamie Wilson, the current chief financial officer of SABMiller, resigned, saying his leave is for personal reasons. Miller will step down immediately and be placed on “gardening leave” through March 31, after which he will officially exit the company. The world’s second-biggest brewer by sales faces a challenging time in the beer market. Analysts say it is an industry ready for consolidation, and there’s been reports that its bigger rival Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is an interested buyer. SABMiller, known for brands such as Miller Lite, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni, was rejected in its own attempts to buy Heineken last year.