Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are mixed against a background of buoyant world markets that appear to have forgotten their fear of a global slowdown.
Today’s must-read story is by Fortune’s Brian O’Keefe on Big Chocolate’s shocking child labor problem in West Africa. Nearly 2.1 million children were engaged in child labor in cocoa farming in the Ivory Coast and Ghana alone, according to a Tulane University survey.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Germany probes Facebook
The German federal competition authority has opened an investigation into Facebook, over what it suspects is “an abusive imposition of unfair conditions on users.” The Bundeskartellamt said Wednesday that Facebook’s terms and conditions, in which users agree to have their data collected for the purposes of ad-targeting, were difficult for those users to understand.
2. Sports Authority files for bankruptcy
The long-speculated bankruptcy of Sports Authority is official. In a statement posted to its website Wednesday, CEO Michael Foss said that the company decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a way to implement a financial and operational restructuring that it sees as necessary to better appeal to customers. Foss said the sporting goods retailer has identified 140 stores to close or sell in the coming months. “This was a tough decision to make, but we believe it was a necessary step in our plan to make Sports Authority an even better partner for our customers,” he wrote.
3. Costco reports.
Costco (COST) reports its second-quarter earnings today, which are expected to fall just short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The wholesale retailer is expected to show earnings per share of $1.29 on revenue of $28.72 billion, according to Estimize data. Investors and analysts will be watching same-store sales carefully after they declined 1% in the first quarter.
Also reporting today: Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO).
4. U.S. employment update.
ADP releases its National Employment Report today ahead of the Labor Department’s estimates on Friday. Private employers are likely to have added 190,000 jobs last month, building on a strong January jobs report.
5. Fed releases its Beige Book.
The Federal Reserve release its Beige Book today, a collection of anecdotes from around the U.S. on the state of the economy. The information is drawn from the central bank’s sources around the nation and is expected to show mixed signals as to the health of the U.S. economy: strong employment is likely dampened by stress in the manufacturing sector.