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Dow futures rise ahead of key GDP report

IN THE NEWS TODAY

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, as global markets shot up, following the decision by Japan's central bank to adopt negative interest rates for the first time ever. (CNBC)

The staying power of today's bullish tone could be determined by the first reading of fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product, due out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Forecasts call for a scant growth rate of 0.8 percent, following the third quarter's 2 percent expansion. (CNBC)

On this final trading day of the month, the Dow and S&P 500 are on pace for their worst January declines since 2009. Both measures remain in correction territory, despite Thursday's modest increases. (CNBC)

Recently depressed Asian markets climbed today, after Japanese stocks went on a roller-coaster ride in the immediate aftermath of the Bank of Japan's negative rate move. The Nikkei gained 2.8 percent. China's Shanghai composite rose 3 percent. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices were steady this morning, after Thursday's nearly 3 percent advance on hopes for a production cut deal among oil-producing countries. Struggling crude was on track for a second week of gains. Meanwhile, Dow component Chevron (CVX) reports earnings before the bell. (Reuters & CNBC)

Xerox (XRX) CEO Ursula Burns told CNBC that billionaire investor Carl Icahn was not the driving force in the company's decision announced on Friday to split into two publicly traded enterprises.

Amazon (AMZN) released earnings substantially below forecasts, with revenue also slightly missing. The stock, which doubled in the past year, was under heavy pressure in premarket trading. (CNBC)

In after hours, Amazon shares were down 14 percent at one stage, which translated into a $7 billion paper loss for chief Jeff Bezos. Three months ago, he made nearly $5 billion on paper following good earnings. (CNBC)

Dow stock Microsoft (MSFT), late Thursday, reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations, helped by improvement in its cloud services business and cost cutting. The stock was sharply higher in the premarket. (CNBC)

General Motors (GM) is creating a team to speed up development of self-driving and electric cars, as the automaker moves to expand its line-up of such vehicles. (Reuters)

GOP presidential hopefuls, sans front-runner Donald Trump, faced off last night ahead of Monday's Iowa caucus. At his own competing event, Trump said he skipped the debate "out of respect" for himself. (CNBC & NBC News)

The Obama administration today is expected to move to require companies to report to the federal government what they pay employees by race, gender, and ethnicity. (NY Times)

BY THE NUMBERS

In addition to the government's GDP this morning, the Chicago purchasing managers index, out at 9:45 a.m. ET, is expected to rise to 46.0 for January from December's 42.9.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, released at 10 a.m. ET, is expected to come in at 93.0 for the final January reading, compared to the preliminary 93.3 and December's final number of 92.6.

Alphabet (GOOGL) said it would separate out results from its Google unit from other areas when it releases its latest quarterly earnings after the bell this coming Monday.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Visa (V) slight beat estimates on earnings but just missed on revenue. The credit giant also affirmed its full year earnings forecast, surprising some analysts who had expected a cut.

Amgen (AMGN) exceed expectations on earnings and essentially matched forecasts for revenue. The biotech company raised its 2016 earnings and revenue guidance.

Electronic Arts (EA) beat on earning and matched with revenue. But the video game producer did not raise its profit and sales forecasts as much as some analysts had expected.

Sony (SNE) beat on earnings and maintained its full-year profit. But the company said it's bracing for a slowdown in the smartphone market, where it's a major supplier of image sensors iPhones.

BlackBerry (BBRY) may abandon its own operating system and transition to Android, according to a report in the Economic Times, a move possibly telegraphed by Thursday's launch of its first Android-based phone.

WATERCOOLER

McDonald's (MCD) has issued an apology after social media users took to Twitter to complain about the lack of mozzarella in the fast food giant's mozzarella sticks. (CNBC)

A 303-foot mega-yacht belonging to Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen is being blamed for destroying a large area of protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands. (CNBC)