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Wall Street watches oil; Gates/Zuckerberg clash on Apple iPhone case; Trump, Nevada, and money – Yahoo Finance


Wall Street is having a tough time keeping the rally going this morning. All three major indexes  (^DJI^GSPC^IXIC) started the day in the red as investors continue to keep close tabs on the swings in oil prices (CLJ16.NYM). 

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Home Depot (HD) delivered a beat on both its top and bottom lines for the fourth quarter. Sales rose 9.6% from a year earlier, as consumers continued to spend money to spruce up their homes. The company also raised its dividend by 17% to $0.69 a share.  

Macy’s (M) shares soared in early trading. The department store chain reported earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ estimates for the fourth quarter, as sales fell less than expected. The company said that the winter weather in January helped sales of seasonal clothes and accessories.  

Fitbit (FIT) shares are taking a big hit this morning. The wearable device maker provided a weak outlook for the current quarter. The company is citing global rollout delays of new devices for the shortfall. The dim guidance overshadowed better-than-expected earnings and revenue for its holiday quarter, as sales nearly doubled from a year earlier.

BHP Billiton (BHP), the world’s largest miner, slashed its midyear dividend by 75% to $ 0.16 a share after it posted its first loss in 16 years as it braces for a prolonged slump in commodity prices. 

Alphabet (GOOGL) plans to shut down Google Compare, its U.S. comparison-shopping site for auto insurance, credit cards, and mortgages after just one year, according to the Wall Street Journal

Tech titans clash in iPhone case

It’s a high stakes battle in high tech, with two titans taking opposite sides. Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder and the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, says Apple (AAPL) should agree to the FBI’s demand that it help break into the iPhone of San Bernadino terrorist Syed Farook. He tells the Financial Times this is a specific case and not unlike other requests for information by law enforcement. However, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg says absolutely not. He supports Apple head Tim Cook in the company’s fight against the government.

Nevada showdown

And finally, Republicans will gather in caucuses in Nevada to pick a presidential candidate tonight. Donald Trump is the heavy favorite following his strong back-to-back wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

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