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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell saw a steep decline in profits as lower crude prices continue to inflict pain on major oil companies. Fourth-quarter 2015 profits were down 56% to $1.8 billion.  Revenue on an annual basis, was the lowest in 13 years, falling 87%. Shell, is cutting some 10,000 jobs and contractor positions this year. (Reuters)

ConocoPhillips, the largest U.S. independent oil and gas company, reported a bigger quarterly loss and slashed its dividend. The company will cut its quarterly dividend to 25 cents per share, from 74 cents per share. The company lost $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter. Shares of ConocoPhillips are down nearly 45% over the past year. (CNBC)

Layoffs surged in January to the highest levels since July as employers in the retail and energy sectors cut jobs. U.S.-based companies announced 75,114 planned job cuts last month, up more than 200% percent from a 15-year low in December. That is 42% higher than last year. Retailers cut 22,246 positions, a seven-year high. Wal-Mart accounted for much of the payroll reductions. The nation's largest retailer said it plans to close 269 stores and expects to let go 16,000 workers.

Macy's said it will also shutter some locations this year, costing 4,820 employees their jobs. The energy sector layed off 20,246 positions, the highest monthly total since the start of the oil price rout. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)

The S&P 500 is down 7 and the NASDAQ is down 17. The MSCI international index is down 0.5%.

Oil is flat at $31.75 a barrel.

Gold is up $9 at $1150 a Troy ounce.
 

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