Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are up slightly this morning as European stocks rose after two bad days but Chinese stocks plunged 6% overnight.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Phil Wahba and it is a magazine piece that looks at Marvin Ellison, the CEO tasked with reinventing long-struggling department store chain J.C. Penney (JCP).
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Foxconn is buying Sharp. Or is it?
Sharp (SHCAY) on Thursday agreed to be bought by Foxconn (HNHPF) in what would be the biggest takeover of a Japanese tech firm by a foreign company, but then the Taiwanese company said it needed to clarify terms and was not ready to sign. Sharp’s shares were down as investors didn’t like the terms.
2. Durable goods numbers
The Commerce Department will report January numbers on orders for long-lasting manufactured goods. Durable goods orders likely improved by 2.5% last month, which would mark the first increase in three months and a welcome rebound from a 5% drop in December. Core capital goods orders likely increased by 1% last month after falling 4.3% in December.
3. Retail earnings
Department store operator Kohl’s (KSS) reports fourth-quarter earnings today after the company previously warned investors that unseasonably warm weather and major discounts cut into its holiday sales last quarter. Investors will be interested to hear any updates on Kohl’s potentially going private, as the company’s attempted turnaround has lagged recently and multiple top executives have left. Meanwhile, Sears Holdings (SHLD) is expected to post a quarterly loss of as much as $625 million for its most recent quarter after weak clothing demand hurt sales. Dollar Tree (DLTR) also releases fourth-quarter numbers today, with the country’s largest dollar store chain likely to beat Wall Street’s revenue estimates as American shoppers have flocked to low-price retailers to escape other, higher costs of living.
Best Buy (BBY) and Gap (GPS) are also reporting quarterly results today.
4. Kraft Heinz Q4 earnings
The result of last year’s merger of two iconic food companies, Kraft Heinz (KHC) is expected to post fourth-quarter sales that fall short of analysts’ forecasts as the company’s portfolio of packaged foods struggles to keep up with consumers’ increased appetite for fresh and organic products. The company, which is majority owned by Brazilian private equity giant 3G Capital (with Berkshire Hathaway also holding a substantial stake), last year began making massive job cuts in an effort to trim costs by at least $1.5 billion by the end of next year.
5. Weekly jobless claims
The U.S. Labor Department is expected to report that the number of Americans who submitted new applications for unemployment benefits last week increased from the previous week. Weekly jobless claims likely jumped by 8,000 claims to hit 270,000.
—Reuters contributed to this post.