Markets Brace for Big Oil Profit Plunge

Cars fill up at the pumps at a Shell station near downtown Detroit on Jan. 1, 2015. Profits for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are expected to grow at one of lowest rates in years, just 1.4 percent. The culprit: Energy companies that suffered as oil prices plunged. On Thursday, Jan. 29, Shell posted a 57 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings. (AP Photo/David N. Goodman)
Cars fill up at the pumps at a Shell station near downtown Detroit on Jan. 1, 2015. Profits for companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are expected to grow at one of lowest rates in years, just 1.4 percent. The culprit: Energy companies that suffered as oil prices plunged. On Thursday, Jan. 29, Shell posted a 57 percent drop in fourth quarter earnings. (AP Photo/David N. Goodman)

NEW YORK—It’s just a forecast, and for only one of 10 industry groups in the stock market. Yet it has almost single handedly turned what...

  • Oil trader Justin Thomas looks at his computer screens at his one-person office in Boise, Idaho, on Jan. 22, 2015. Thomas is one of thousands of oil traders around the world who have helped turn market fundamentals, lots of oil and not much demand, into a plunge in the price of crude. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

    For Traders, Oil’s Plunge Takes a Toll on Egos and Accounts

    NEW YORK—The plunge in oil has crushed the Russian ruble, erased $80 billion from Exxon Mobil’s market value and pushed Venezuela to the brink of... Read more

  • Homeowners sit in a conference room in Detroit's Cobo Center while waiting for their cases to be heard to avoid foreclosure from tax debts in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. Hundreds of Detroit homeowners at risk of losing their property are flocking to hearings that offer them a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure from tax debts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Last-Ditch Foreclosure Hearings Draw Many Detroit Homeowners

    DETROIT—Hundreds of Detroit homeowners in danger of losing their properties flocked Thursday to hearings that offered a last-ditch chance to avoid foreclosure and to keep the... Read more

  • An oil well operated by Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA in Morichal, Venezuela, on July 28, 2011. (Ramon Sahmkow/AFP/Getty Images)

    Venezuelan Hedge Fund Manager Gets 13 Years in Prison

    BRIDGEPORT, Conn.—A Venezuelan-American hedge fund manager was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in prison for running a Connecticut fraud scheme involving hundreds of millions of... Read more

  • A sale pending sign is posted in front of a home for sale in Quincy, Mass. July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

    Pending Home Sales Fall Sharply in December

    WASHINGTON—Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in December, a sign that low mortgage rates have yet to coax more buyers into the market. The... Read more

  • Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, second right, accompanied by members of his government poses for a group picture outside the Parliament in central Athens, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Tsipras says his government’s top priorities are to negotiate with Greece’s partners to resolve the country’s financial predicament and to deal with what he describes as Greece’s humanitarian crisis. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    EU Parliament President to Meet With New Greek Government

    ATHENS, Greece— The European Parliament’s president is to be the first European official to visit Athens, a day after announcements by Greece’s nascent radical left... Read more

  • Time Warner Cable Misses Street 4Q Forecasts

    NEW YORK— Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) on Thursday reported fourth-quarter profit of $554 million. The New York-based company said it had profit of $1.95... Read more

  • The euro sign sculpture in front of the building that used to host the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, on Jan. 26, 2015. (Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)

    5 Reasons Printing Money Won’t Save Moribund European Economies

    The European Central Bank is ready to initiate a 60 billion euro ($69 billion) monthly government bond buying program—quantitative easing—but that won’t do much for... Read more

  • Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen speaks on Dec. 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Her next press conference as head of the FOMC takes place on March 18. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    Fed Upgrades Economy, Concerned About Falling Inflation

    The Fed upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy and labour market on Wednesday, but noted that falling inflation is a key concern and the... Read more

  • Fed Is Expected to Remain ‘Patient’ About a First Rate Hike

    WASHINGTON— As the Federal Reserve ends its latest policy meeting Wednesday, it is widely expected to repeat the pledge it made in December: That it... Read more

  • FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, a pedestrian walks past the corporate headquarters of health insurer Anthem, in Indianapolis. Anthem reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

    Anthem Raises Dividend Almost 43 Pct, Tops 4Q Forecasts

    INDIANAPOLIS— Anthem is hiking the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders nearly 43 percent after reporting fourth-quarter results that topped Wall Street expectations. The nation’s second-largest... Read more

  • CommScope Buying Some of TE Connectivity Ops for About $3B

    HICKORY, N.C.— CommScope is buying TE Connectivity Ltd.’s telecom, enterprise and wireless businesses for about $3 billion, which will help diversify its operations and broaden... Read more

  • Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras (R) is sworn in with Greek president Karolos Papoulias on Jan. 26, 2015 in Athens. The radical left-wing party Syriza won the snap Greek general election and has asked the right-wing Independent Greek party to form an anti-austerity coalition. (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

    New Greek Cabinet Determined to Renegotiate Bailout

    ATHENS—Greece’s new left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, picked an outspoken bailout critic as his new finance minister Tuesday, Jan. 27, signalling his resolve to take... Read more

  • Mike Johnson, a sales manager at a Honda car dealership, opens the hood of a Honda CRV SUV in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 2, 2014. The Commerce Department releases durable goods orders for January on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Orders for US Durable Goods Stumbled in December

    WASHINGTON—Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped sharply in December, as U.S. businesses trimmed spending amid escalating worries about the global economy. Orders for durable goods... Read more

  • Taxis that belong to Arthur Cab Leasing Corp. stand idle outside the company's lot before being put it back into service following a winter storm, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in the Queens borough of New York. Manager Shaon Chowdhury estimates that the winter storm has cost his company approximately $60,000 in lost revenue and added expenses. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

    NYC Economy Lost $200M From Fizzled Storm, Transit Shutdown

    NEW YORK—New York City lost about $200 million in economic activity in the fizzled snow storm and decision to shut down the transit system, but it... Read more

  • In this picture taken Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014 visitors crowed the Christmas market in front of the neo-Gothic City hall in Vienna, Austria. Nothing will put you more in the mood for the festive season than the Christmas markets big and small dotting the city. Choices range from the more than 150 wooden huts set up in front of the City hall, to markets often no bigger than a few booths. Among the hundreds of goods on offer are tree lights, candles, ornaments and musical Christmas toys. Letters read "Merry Christmas". (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Europe Trips Go on Sale as Currency Plunges

    Europe’s cheaper currency might not achieve more lending and more investment after all. It will, however, make a trip across the Atlantic a lot cheaper... Read more

  • FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, a now hiring sign hangs nearby as a builder works on a commercial property under construction in Peabody, Mass. The Labor Department reports on state unemployment rates for December on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

    Unemployment Falls in 42 States Amid Broad Hiring

    WASHINGTON— Unemployment rates fell in 42 U.S. states last month, the latest sign that strong hiring is boosting job opportunities nationwide. The Labor Department said... Read more