General Electric and Bank of America are the heavy hitters among Friday's earnings reports.
Both stocks have gained about 5 percent this week, and in fact, they seem to be racing to the $20 mark, a level neither has seen since the first week of November, 2008. GE finished Thursday at $19.50, and Bank of America closed at $19.48.
Investors will be watching those two reports, as well as Google, which could be a drag on the Nasdaq after dropping sharply in Thursday's after hours session. Google reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues, but it did not match the highest of estimates and its costs were larger than expected. Google's earnings increased 37 percent to nearly $2 billion, and revenues were 23 percent higher at $6.78 billion.
In another negative, Google CEO Eric Schmidt did not participate on the company's conference call, as expected by investors. Shareholders were told by CFO Patrick Pichette that Schmidt will no longer participate in calls, but they should not read anything into it. Advanced Micro Devices, meanwhile, reported after the bell and saw its stock rise on better than expected results.
Friday's markets will also be watching housing starts and building permits at 8:30 a.m., and consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
Stocks ended the day higher Thursday, after a disappointing weekly jobless claims report added selling pressure at the opening.
The Dow was at 11,144, up 21, and the S&P 500 was at 1211, up just 1 point. The Nasdaq, though was up 10 at 2515. UPS' better earnings and better profit outlook pushed that stock higher, as well as rival FedEx. The best performing sector was consumer discretionary, up 0.4 percent and the worst was the financials, down 0.5 percent.
The dollar was higher Thursday, and worries about Greece once more pushed down the euro. Greece invited IMF and EU officials to visit, leading to speculation Greece would soon ask for aid.
Treasurys saw buyers across the curve. As a result, the 10-year's yield slipped to 3.848 percent and the 2-year was at 1.032 percent.
What to Watch
GE, the parent of CNBC, is expected to earn $0.16 per share on revenues of $37.2 billion. Bank of America is expected to earn $0.09 per share, on revenues of $27.83 billion. Other companies reporting profits include Gannett, Genuine Parts and Mattel.
Fed speakers Friday include Fed Gov. Kevin Warsh, who is on a panel on planning a new financial structure, and Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, who speaks at 12:30 p.m., both in New York.
President Obama will meet with his outside economic board Friday on financial regulatory reform.
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