Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are higher this morning, buoyed by hopes of more stimulus after weak business surveys in China and the Eurozone (more below). Crude oil futures have surged to within touching distance of a new high for the year at $34.34 a barrel.
Today’s must-read story is by Fortune’s Don Reisinger on why Warren Buffett says that “privacy has its limits” in the battle between Apple (AAPL) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations debate over unlocking the iPhone used by San Bernardino attacker Syed Farook.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Super Tuesday is here.
Today, voters across the U.S. will be gathering to cast their vote in Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. They will be held in Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia. Half the Republican delegates needed to win the party’s nomination are up for grabs, while about a third are at stake on the Democrats side.
2. China slumps again – but markets don’t mind
China’s official purchasing managers’ index fell to its lowest level in over four years in February, while the Caixin PMI, which surveys generally smaller companies under private ownership, fell to a five month low of 48.0, marking a 12th straight contraction. However, markets that have been positive skittish about China’s slowdown this year shrugged off the latest data, in what may be a sign of confidence that things are bottoming out in the Middle Kingdom. China’s benchmark stock index, the CSI 300, rose nearly 3% while its currency strengthened against the dollar.
3. U.S. economic data.
New data is expected to show that the manufacturing downturn in the U.S. is close to bottoming. The Institute for Supply Management’s national index is expected to edge up to 48.5 for February from 48.2 in January. Any reading below 50 represents that the industry is shrinking. Also up today, the Commerce Department is expected to show that construction spending increased 0.4% in January, up from 0.1% in December.
4. February auto sales.
U.S. automakers report February sales data today, which are expected to be up significantly year-over-year. Analysts are predicting more than 1.35 million vehicles were sold across the nation last month, an 8% gain over last February. That should give major automakers a significant boost to start the year.
5. Medtronic reports.
Medtronic (MDT) reports its third-quarter fiscal earnings before the market open today. The medical device manufacturer is expected to reveal earnings-per-share of $1.06 on $6.99 billion in sales, according to Thomson Reuters data. The company is now based in Ireland after its mega-merger with Covidien, one of the largest to date in the medtech industry.
Also reporting today: AutoZone (AZO), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and Barclays (BCS).
Additional reporting contributed by Reuters.