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Japan’s Rate Cut and U.S. GDP—5 Things to Know Today

January 29, 2016, 12:01 PM UTC
Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) Haruhiko Kuroda explains his negative interest rate plan using a board during his regular press conference in Tokyo on January 29, 2016. The BoJ shocked markets on January 29 after it unveiled plans to effectively charge lenders to park their cash with it, ramping up its long-running battle to kickstart the world's number three economy. AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are enjoying themselves this morning thanks to the latest sugar rush from the Bank of Japan (see below), which has also sent the dollar to its highest in over a month against the yen. Crude oil’s rally on the back of hints about production cuts appears to have run out of steam – at $33.20, it’s nearly a dollar off its overnight peak.

Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Mathew Ingram and it looks at what other media companies can learn from the turnaround of Facebook’s (FB) mobile advertising business, which contributed 80% of the company’s overall ad revenue in its most recent standout quarter.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Japan joins the negative interest rate club

The Bank of Japan on Friday said it would reduce interest rates into negative territory, a strategy long thought to be impossible for practical purposes, but one that has become more widespread. It joins Switzerland, the ECB and Denmark and Sweden in the club of those desperately trying to stop their currencies appreciating against the backdrop of a slowing world economy. The Nikkei index ended up 2.8%, the Euro Stoxx is up 0.8% and the 10-year Treasury yield has moved sharply below 2% to its lowest level since April.

2. U.S. GDP

The Commerce Department releases its first estimate of U.S. economic growth in 2015’s final quarter today. The government is likely to report that fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product dropped to an annualized rate of just 0.8% after clocking in at 2% growth in the third quarter. Contributing to the slowdown was a drop-off in consumer spending due to unseasonably warm weather delaying the normal winter-related purchases. In Europe earlier, Spain said its GDP grew 0.8% in the fourth quarter, unchanged from 3Q, while France’s growth slowed to 0.2% from 0.3%.

3. Xerox earnings and split rumors

The printer and copier company is expected to report quarterly results that fall short of Wall Street’s forecasts for the ninth-straight quarter amid reports that the company is planning to split itself into two separate companies. The two new companies would house Xerox’s (XRX) hardware operations and services business, respectively, with activist investor Carl Icahn taking three board seats at one of the two companies. The company has lost more than a third of its market value in the past year as corporate clients scale back their printing costs in favor of mobile devices.

4. Chevron Q4 earnings

The second-largest U.S. oil company likely saw its quarterly profit take another significant plunge in the final quarter of 2015. Like the rest of its oil industry competitors, Chevron (CVX) continues to suffer from plummeting global crude oil prices while several major oil and gas projects have also been delayed amid the slump in commodity prices. U.S. refiner Phillips 66 (PSX) also reports quarterly results this morning.

5. Mastercard

The payments network company is expected to report a dip in fourth-quarter profit as a result of the strong U.S. dollar, with overseas markets accounting for roughly 60% of Mastercard’s (MA) purchase volumes. In September, Mastercard said that its 2015 spending would see a significant jump due to increased investments in China and the company’s digital projects.


—Reuters contributed to this post.