Mining giant BHP Billiton has abandoned a long-standing policy of steadily rising dividends, after reporting a $5.7 billion six-month net loss and cutting its dividend to 16 cents from the year-ago 62 cents. CEO Andrew Mackenzie says falling commodity prices, particularly for oil, have left the company with no alternative. BHP is "dealing with a very different kind of environment," he said.
Crude oil for June delivery dropped 58 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, settling at $56.41 a barrel. Meanwhile, May corn fell 3.75 cents on the Chicago Board of Trade to finish at $3.6075 a bushel, setting a new six-month low in the process.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he is optimistic that Greece will make meaningful progress toward renegotiating debt to the EU when talks resume Monday. Greece needs a six-month "bridge" deal to renegotiate its relationship with the EU, Tsipras says.
Crude oil futures hit a six-month high of $62.14 last week. U.S. commercial crude oil inventories declined by 2.1 million barrels to 368.5 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration.
After a record-setting six-month decline, consumer spending picked up in January, rising 0.6%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Driven largely by pricier food and nondurable items, the increase outpaced the 0.4% increase anticipated by economists.