The stock market, easily swayed by earnings news, has its sights set on General Electric Friday. GE releases its earnings and plans a conference call with analysts ahead of the market open.
The GE earnings come a day after Microsoft took investors by surpriseby releasing a disappointing earnings report ahead of the opening bell, hours earlier than expected. Microsoft also said it was laying off 5,000 workers, an unusual move for the tech giant and one reason the company may have moved up the timing of its release. On top of the gloomy numbers and deep cost cutting, Microsoft said it will not provide forecasts for the rest of the year.
Microsoft's bad news came on the heels of weak earnings releases from Nokia and several financial companies. But it was Microsoft that really bit into market sentiment. The stock closed down nearly 12 percent, its lowest level in 10 years.
After the bell, Google showed just how mixed the tech picture has been this quarter . It joined Apple and IBM with better-than-expected results.