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Today's Primer Post

Friday, 1 Feb 2013 | 5:57 AM ET

The new month begins with the Dow coming off its best January gain since 1994, and the S&P 500 with its best January since 1997, but another positive streak is in danger. The major averages are all modestly lower for the week entering the Friday session, after registering advances in all four weeks of 2013 so far.


Today's market sentiment will undoubtedly be driven by the January employment report, due out at 8:30 a.m. New York time. Economists are looking for an addition of 168,000 nonfarm jobs for the month, with the unemployment rate remaining steady at 7.8 percent.


Several other key numbers are out today as well, including the University of Michigan's final January consumer sentiment index at 9:55 a.m. New York time. Economists are looking for a reading of 71.5, compared to the preliminary January mark of 71.3, and December's 72.9.


At 10 a.m., the ISM's manufacturing index for January is seen coming in at 51.0, slightly higher than December's 50.7.


And the nation's automakers will issue January sales figures throughout the morning. Ford is expected to post a 20.6 percent sales increase over January 2012, with GM up 16.3 percent, Chrysler up 20 percent, and Toyota up 18 percent, according to Edmunds.com forecasts.


Wynn Resorts (WYNN) is among our stocks to watch, with the casino operator reporting profit of $1.17 per share, excluding certain items, eight cents below estimates. Wynn cites a market share decline in the fast-growing Macau market.


NetSuite (N) reported a fourth quarter profit of $0.06 per share, two cents above estimates, and raised its full year revenue forecast. The business software maker also said it would add jobs in both sales and product development as demand rises.


Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS) beat estimates by a penny with fourth quarter profit of $0.23 per share, excluding certain items. The maker of home fixtures and hardware saw sales growth in most of its units. The company was spun off in late 2011 from Fortune Brands, which became Beam Inc. (BEAM).


Eastman Chemical (EMN) earned $1.19 per share for the fourth quarter, excluding certain items, one cent above estimates. The chemical maker also raised its earnings guidance for the year.


Google (GOOG) has presented its proposals to the European Union to resolve an ongoing antitrust probe. EU officials acknowledged receiving those proposals but declined to comment further other than to say they're analyzing whether they're sufficient to resolve concerns about Google's business practices.


Dell (DELL) could see a buyout in place as soon as Monday, according to Reuters. A buyout consortium would be led by founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, as CNBC's David Faber has been reporting.


Toyota (TM) has topped the annual Consumer Reports survey on brand perception. Ford (F) was second, followed by Honda (HMC), Chevrolet, Mercedes Benz, and Volvo.


Sony (SNE) has scheduled a Playstation-related event for February 20 in New York, leading to speculation that it's about to release a PlayStation 4. Sony declined to say whether that will be the case.


Boeing (BA) engineers will vote on a strike authorization next week, after union leaders voted to put that question on a ballot that will go to members next week.


United Continental (UAL) was rebuffed by a judge in its effort to have a frequent flier lawsuit thrown out. The suit accuses the carrier of taking frequent flier benefits away from some of its most loyal customers.


Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) is suing Cracker Barrel Old Country (CBRL) over the restaurant chain's move to sell certain Cracker Barrel-branded products outside its restaurants and stores. Kraft says the move violates its rights to market the brand.


MetLife (MET) is buying Chile's largest private pension fund administrator, AFP Provida, for $2 billion in cash. AFP is currently owned by Spanish bank BBVA.


Apple (AAPL) has blocked Oracle's (ORCL) Java on its Mac computers for the second time in a month, citing security problems.