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China rate cut boosts tech-fueled Wall Street strength

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were sharply higher this morning, with a big move in premarket Nasdaq trading after a trio of tech titans — Alphabet, parent of Google; Microsoft; and Amazon — soared late Thursday on strong earnings. Adding to gains, China's central bank cut interest rates this morning, the sixth such move since last November. (CNBC)

With the tech tailwind, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are on pace for their first four-week winning streaks of the year. The Dow surged more than 300 points Thursday. (CNBC)

Alphabet (GOOGL) late Thursday beat on earnings and revenue. The newly renamed Google parent also announced a $5 billion stock repurchase program. (CNBC)

Microsoft (MSFT) beat on earnings and revenue. Separately, CNBC learned that the software giant plans to cut 1,000 jobs in a new round of layoffs. (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) earned 17 cents per share, compared with an expected loss of 13 cents per share, for its second-straight quarterly profit. Revenue also exceeded forecasts. (CNBC)

The premarket spike in Amazon gives CEO Jeff Bezos a paper profits boost of nearly $5 billion. Meanwhile, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin each saw nearly $1.5 billion in paper gains. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) was benefiting from all the tech euphoria, with premarket action indicating the stock could open over $100 a share, the first time ever in triple digits. (CNBC)

Twitter (TWTR) co-founder and new CEO Jack Dorsey is contributing a third of his company stock, about 1 percent worth nearly $200 million, to an employee equity pool. (CNBC)

Valeant (VRX) plans to hold a conference call at 8 a.m. ET on Monday to address recent criticism of its business practices, which sent its stock price tumbling this week. (WSJ)

Tesla (TSLA) could begin producing cars in China in two years, said chief executive Elon Musk. Local production could reduce the sales price of Tesla models in China by around a third. (Reuters)

A monster Category 5 Hurricane Patricia barreled toward southwest Mexico, packing 160 mph wind. Landfall is expected tonight. (USA Today)

Patricia could bring new flooding to areas of drought-stricken Texas, where heavy rains in May caused destructive flash floods. (Weather Channel)

A bus transporting retirees on a day trip collided with a truck carrying wood in southwest France today, killing 42 people and critically injuring at least four others, in the nation's deadliest road accident in years. (AP)

The impact of a landmark decision to make it harder to prosecute insider trading was amply demonstrated as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan moved to dismiss charges against a former high-ranking SAC Capital employee and six cooperating witnesses (NY Times)

Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, has formally declared his candidacy to succeed Rep. John Boehner as House speaker, after getting unified support from across the Republican conference. (AP)

BY THE NUMBERS

The prospect of the euro falling to parity with the dollar has returned with a vengeance after the European Central Bank signaled Thursday it would consider extending its massive bond-buying program well into 2016 and even beyond.

There are no economic reports on the calendar this morning, but the earnings slate is packed, led by Dow component Procter & Gamble (PG), along with American Airlines Group (AAL), Royal Caribbean (RCL), Whirlpool (WHR). There are no after-the-bell reports today.

Pilots at UPS (UPS) are set to announce this morning the results of a strike vote. The union and the delivery giant have been at odds since 2011 over wages and retirement benefits, with federal mediator stepping in last year.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Pandora Media (P) was down more than 30 percent in the premarket, after matching on earnings but missing on revenue. The streaming music service also issued light guidance and said it would pay $90 million to settle royalties litigation on pre-1972 recordings.

Skechers (SKX) plunged more than 25 percent in premarket trading, after sales came up short of forecasts. The shoemaker also saw its bottom line results hurt by higher legal expenses.

AT&T (T) beat estimates with earnings, but as it warned earlier this week revenue fell short because of confusion over accounting for its acquisition of DirecTV. AT&T also raised its full-year guidance.

WATERCOOLER

The Blue Jays hope to force a Game 7 in the ALCS, when they take on the Royals in Kansas City tonight. Toronto stayed alive before a home crowd with a 7-1 rout on Wednesday. (AP)

The winner of the ALCS takes on the NLCS-winning New York Mets in the World Series, a hot ticket that, as of Thursday morning, was priced at $1,667 for a home game in Queens. (CNBC)

Yahoo (YHOO) broadcasts a global webcast of the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game Sunday morning from London. The company paid around $20 million to carry the game. (NY Times)

Activision (ATVI) has set up a so-called "e-sports" division, to expand its involvement in the business of competitive online video games, with a former ESPN and NFL Network chief at the helm. (USA Today)