Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading, with the Japanese Nikkei advancing 3.7 percent, the Shanghai Composite up 0.1 percent, and the Hang Seng up 0.5 percent. European markets are in the red with the exception of the FTSE in London, up 0.5 percent. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- News yesterday that Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa would step down on March 19 – three weeks before his term is scheduled to end – helped to propel the Nikkei 3.7 percent higher today. Investors anticipate a radical shift in monetary policy under the new leadership of the central bank.
- Australian retail sales declined another 0.2 percent in December on broad-based weakness against economists' estimates of a 0.3 percent rise. The third month of contraction marks the longest stretch of decline in 13 years.
- German factory orders rose 0.8 percent in December, slightly ahead of estimates of a 0.7 percent advance. Orders from the euro area surged 7 percent in December while domestic sales registered a 1.2 percent contraction.
- Chipotle reported fourth-quarter earnings right in line with estimates after the closing bell, but the company had pre-announced the results in mid-January. However, the company issued less-than-stellar guidance, saying it expects "f lat to low single digit comparable restaurant sales excluding additional menu price increases" in 2013.
- Disney reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenues slightly above analysts' estimates after the closing bell. CEO Bob Iger said ABC and ESPN were affected by soft ratings in Q4 but have since bounced back. The company, which acquired rights to the Star Wars franchise in the fourth quarter, announced it plans to release spin-off films in addition to the sequels it has planned.
- NASDAQ is in talks with the SEC regarding a $5 million settlement over the botched Facebook IPO. NASDAQ has also offered to pay out $62 million to investors who were affected and lost money on Facebook IPO trades.
- In its suit against credit rating agency S&P, the U.S. Department of Justice wants the company to pay $5 billion in damages for improperly rating mortgage bonds before the financial crisis. $5 billion is roughly equivalent to S&P's cumulative earnings over the last seven years.
- International cable provider Liberty Global announced a deal to acquire number-two British cable provider Virgin Media for $16 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition will strengthen Liberty Global's foothold in the U.K. market and establish a formidable competitor to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
- There are no economic data releases out in the United States today. The calendar resumes Thursday with the release of weekly jobless claims figures at 8:30 AM ET. Follow all of the market news throughout the day LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Elizabeth Banks was filmed riding a bike for her new movie Walk of Shame.
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