10 things you need to know before the opening bell
Apple wins. The tech giant won't have to create a "backdoor" into its product, because the US Justice Department says it has gained access to the phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. A statement by the DOJ said, "The FBI has now successfully retrieved the data stored on the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple required by the Court Order." This caused Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym to vacate the original order. It remains unclear how the phone was accessed, but speculation centers on a third party an experimental technique called NAND flash mirroring.
Yahoo bids are due by April 11. The Wall Street Journal reports, bidders for Yahoo's core assets have the next two weeks to ready their bids. A note to potentially interested parties to list what assets they'd like to buy and how much they're willing to pay, in addition to how they plan to finance the deal. Telecom giants Verizon and AT&T, as well as private-equity firms like TPG and KKR, are said to be among the interested buyers.
The SEC is investigating Wall Street's nightmare stock. SunEdison, one of the world's largest renewable energy companies, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the Wall Street Journal. The SEC is looking into how much cash the company had last summer when its stock was in free fall. At the time, SunEdison told investors it had $1 billion cash on hand, but some investors think otherwise. Shares of SunEdison tumbled 23% in after-hours trade and are down 96% over the last eight months.
Warren Buffett upped his Wells Fargo stake. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway now owns 10% of Wells Fargo, meaning the investment could see more federal scrutiny. Previously the Fed has said it would review investors' double-digit stakes in banks on a case-by-case basis while the Treasury has said it would not deem a 10% stake as "controlling" if the investor agreed in writing to limit their involvement. Citing Buffett, Reuters reports Berkshire's stake in Wells Fargo has climbed from 6.5% at the end of 2009 and 9.8% as of December 31.
Eddie Lampert is loaning money to his company. Sears CEO Eddie Lampert has bought a portion of the company's new $750 million loan, which is designed to help the company pay down older debt. Reuters reports, Lampert purchased "a couple of hundred million dollars of the new term loan" through his hedge fund ESL Investments. David Tawil, president at hedge fund Maglan Capital, told Reuters, Lampert's purchase buys time for a turnaround, or allows for more asset sales.
Lennar beats. The homebuilder announced earnings of $0.63 per share, easily beating the $0.52 that was expected. Revenue rose 19.8% versus last year to $1.99 billion, which was better than the $1.87 billion anticipated by the Bloomberg consensus. Home deliveries jumped 12% to 4,832. "We continue to believe that the housing market is continuing its slow and steady recovery driven by years of under production, tight inventory levels, attractive interest rates and the lowest unemployment levels since 2008," CEO Stuart Miller said in te earnings release.
Janet Yellen speaks. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will take the mic at the Economic Club of New York this afternoon. Traders will be paying close attention to Yellen's comments, which could lay the foundation for further Fed rate hikes. Yellen's speech will begin at 12:20 p.m. ET.
Global stock markets trade mixed. China's Shanghai Composite (-1.3%) lagged in Asia and France's CAC (+0.6%) leads in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 3 points at 2025.
Earnings reporting remains light. Dave & Busters and Restoration Hardware are among the names releasing their quarterly results after markets close.
US economic data flows. The Case-Shiller 20-city Index is due out at 9 a.m. ET and consumer confidence will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. Treasury will auction $34 billion 5-year notes at 1 p.m. ET. The US 5-year yield is lower by 2 basis points at 1.35%.
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