Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are called to open flat as traders waking up in the U.S. absorb the fact that the heavy falls overnight were largely only a reaction to their own nightmare day on Wednesday. Crude oil futures have rebounded by nearly a dollar from a new 13-year low posted overnight, while the dollar is marching higher, especially against riskier emerging market currencies.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Shawn Tully and it argues that Wall Street’s current state of “gloom and doom” over the potentially dreary future for the stock market is probably overblown.
Here’s what else you need to know to start the day.
1. Europe emissions probes could be widening.
Shares in French carmaker Renault plummeted 20% after a local report saying that its headquarters had been raided in connection with a probe into excess emissions by its vehicles. Fiat Chrysler shares were suspended in Milan temporarily after they were dragged down 9% by (possibly unrelated) news, while BMW was down 4.5%, Peugeot fell 8% and Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz, fell 5.6%.
2. JPMorgan Q4 earnings
This week brings earnings reports from a handful of major banks, led by JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) fourth-quarter results due Thursday morning. JPMorgan is likely to report a moderate revenue increase for its final quarter of the 2015 fiscal year, as the banking giant benefitted from cost cuts that helped offset potential energy loan losses. Investors will be interested in hearing how bank executives expect business to be affected by the new interest rates implemented at the end of 2015 by the Federal Reserve.
3. First GOP debate of 2016
The Republican party’s leading presidential candidates will gather again for their sixth debate of the 2016 election cycle and the first of this year. This time, the candidates will meet in key early-voting state South Carolina for a debate that will air on the Fox Business network after the network pulled in 13.5 million viewers for an earlier GOP debate, in November. Billionaire Donald Trump has been leading the pack in most polls, though one recent poll had him trailing Senator Ted Cruz in Iowa. Meanwhile, two candidates who won’t be participating in the main debate are Senator Rand Paul and former Hewlett-Packard CEO (HPQ) Carly Fiorina, who were both dropped from the primetime event due to low polling numbers.
4. U.K. interest rate decision
The Bank of England will likely keep its key interest rate unchanged at 0.5% when the central bank announces its rate decision today. The Bank of England had previously been thought to be the first major central bank to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. Federal Reserve with a rate hike of its own, but the global stock sell-off that kicked off 2016 amid China’s economic turmoil appears to have delayed those plans. Concern over the U.K.’s potential departure from the European Union has also caused market uncertainty and the British pound fell to its lowest point since 2010 this week, further ensuring that the Bank of England is likely to hold off on raising interest rates.
5. Weekly jobless claims
The Labor Department is expected to report that the number of Americans who filed new applications for unemployment benefits last week declined by 2,000, to 275,000 claims. Weekly jobless claims had already dipped by 10,000 in the previous week, as number of weekly claims has remained well under the benchmark level of 300,000 for several months to indicate a steadily improving job market.
— Reuters contributed to this post.