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Feb. 10 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Updated from 6:58 a.m. EST

Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, Feb. 10:  

1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing lower on Monday but overseas markets were rising as investors looked to Tuesday when Janet Yellen will make her first comments before Congress as the new chief of the Federal Reserve

Stocks in London, Paris and Frankfurt were posting modest gain. Stocks in Japan rose 1.8% and Shanghai's Composite index finished with a gain of 2%.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday is bare.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Friday rose, recouping all losses from a broad selloff earlier in the week. U.S. stocks jumped as investors looked beyond lower-than-expected headline employment numbers for January, and found that not only did some of the largest sectors of the labor force gain ground but more people went looking for work last month. The  S&P 500 gained 1.33% to finish at 1,797.02, while the  Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.06% to 15,794.08. The  Nasdaq rose 1.69% to close at 4,125.86. For the week, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq gained 0.81%, 0.61% and 0.54%, respectively.

4.-- AOL (AOL) CEO Tim Armstrong abandoned an unpopular plan to delay company contributions to employee retirement accounts and apologized for citing two high-cost births as part of the impetus for the plan.

"We heard you on this topic," Armstrong wrote in a letter to employees Saturday, The Associated Press reported.

In a move to cut costs, AOL decided to pay matching 401(k) retirement contributions in one lump sum at the end of the year. Workers who left the company before the end of the year would have received no contributions, and all workers would sacrifice interest or earnings on those contributions throughout the year.

After a worker backlash, Armstrong said the company would return to depositing matching contributions every pay period throughout the year, AP reported.

AOL shares were inactive in premarket trading on Monday.

5.-- Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services told clients they should vote against Carl Icahn's plan for Apple (AAPL) to buy back $50 billion of its stock.

"(The Apple board) has returned the bulk of its U.S.-generated cash to shareholders via aggressive stock buybacks and dividends payouts," the ISS said in its report. "In light of these good-faith efforts and its past stewardship, the board's latitude should not be constricted by a shareholder resolution that would micromanage the company's capital allocation process."

Apple CEO Timothy Cook told The Wall Street Journal last week that the company repurchased $14 billion of stock in the past two weeks, noting the iPhone and iPad maker wanted to be "aggressive" and "opportunistic" with the repurchases.

Apple shares rose 0.1% in premarket trading.

6.-- Toyota (TM) said Monday it will stop making cars in Australia by the end of 2017, because of the high Australian dollar, the high cost of manufacturing and competition.

Toyota's move will result in the loss of around 2,500 jobs, and comes just two months after General Motors (GM) said it would end production in Australia by 2017. Ford (F) said in May that it would cease Australian production in 2016.

Separately, Toyota is close to a deal to pay more than $1 billion to end a U.S. criminal probe of how it disclosed drivers' complaints of unintended acceleration, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

An agreement could come within weeks barring setbacks and would cap a four-year investigation by U.S. authorities, according to the newspaper.

7.-- Toy company Hasbro (HAS) said Monday that fourth-quarter earnings fell slightly because it recorded certain charges during the period.

Hasbro posted earnings of $129.8 million, or 98 cents a share, down from year-earlier profit of $130.3 million, or 99 cents a share. 

Excluding restructuring charges, pension costs and product-related charges, as well as a benefit related to a legal settlement, earnings were $1.12 a share; analysts were expecting earnings of $1.22 a share.

Hasbro shares fell 2.2% in premarket trading to $49.

8.-- Urban Outfitters (URBN), the teen retailer, is forecast to post earnings of 56 cents a share in the fourth quarter on sales of $925.8 million. 

9.-- Sprint (S) officials are regrouping to decide whether trying to acquire smaller rival  T-Mobile US  (TMUS) makes sense after antitrust officials expressed strong sentiments against a deal publicly, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son and CEO Dan Hesse have met with officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission in recent weeks. The men were surprised by the level of opposition and its very public nature, a person told the Journal.

Son may yet pursue a deal, the people said, since he believes Sprint's U.S. options are limited if the country's third-largest carrier doesn't get bigger. But if the sides do decide to go ahead, they could take weeks or more to ponder strategy and perfect their regulatory arguments, two of the people said.

Sprint declined 1.9% in premarket trading to $7.87.

10.-- "The Lego Movie" made $69.1 million in its debut over the weekend, according to studio estimates.

The Warner Bros. collaboration with Lego, the Danish toy company, is the biggest hit so far of 2014.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email to:tips@thestreet.com.

Follow @josephwoe58

 

Copyright 2014 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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