Dow poised to open 100 points higher as earnings season begins on Wall Street

BY THE NUMBERS

Stock futures were sharply higher this morning, with the Dow poised to open more than 100 points higher. The Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq, all posted record closing highs Thursday, with the Nasdaq now on track for its best monthly gain since July 2016. (CNBC)

BlackRock (BLK) shares were modestly higher this morning after it reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue. The world's largest money manager also noted its assets under management rose 22 percent in 2017. (CNBC)

Additionally, J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM), PNC Financial (PNC), and Wells Fargo (WFC) are scheduled to release quarterly earnings results this morning. There are no earnings reports of note after today's closing bell. (CNBC)

Two key economic reports are out at 8:30 a.m. ET, with December numbers for both retail sales and consumer prices. At 10 a.m. ET, November business inventories are out, with consensus forecasts calling for a 0.4 percent rise after October's decline of 0.1 percent. (CNBC)

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan appeared in an exclusive interview with CNBC at 7 a.m ET, while Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren has a public appearance at 1:15pm ET. Neither is a voting member of the FOMC for 2018. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Africans woke up startled this morning after President Donald Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as "s---hole countries" in a meeting with lawmakers. The White House's statement did not deny that the president made those remarks. (CNBC & AP)

* Trump asked why the US needs more Haitians. Mar-a-Lago may hold the answer (CNBC)
* Trump signals openness to North Korea diplomacy (WSJ)

Trump said he canceled a planned visit to a U.S. embassy in London because he didn't want to associate with what he called a "bad" real estate deal. Britons planned protests against Trump during his trip to the city, where he is deeply unpopular. (CNBC)

Trump told The Wall Street Journal that Mexico could end up paying for his proposed border wall "indirectly" if the North American Free Trade Agreement gets tweaked. "They can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA," he told the newspaper in an interview.

* US to extend sanctions relief to Iran, keeping nuclear deal in place for now (WSJ)
* US Commerce Department wraps up steel probe, does not detail findings (Reuters)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government expects about 90 percent of workers to see an increase in their take-home pay as a result of the new tax law. Workers will not have to fill out new W-4 this year. (CNBC)

Political leaders in Germany have reached a breakthrough in talks to form a new coalition government. It followed months of uncertainty after elections in September last year, which failed to produce an overall majority for any party. (CNBC)

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is reportedly expected to testify before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed session next week. Bannon has hired lawyer Bill Burck to represent him during the testimony. (NBC News)

Appearing on the debut episode of David Letterman's new Netflix (NFLX) series, former President Barack Obama said Americans are living in a political "bubble" by personalizing their respective media streams. (CNBC)

Dropbox has secretly filed to go public in the first half of this year, a source confirmed to CNBC. Dropbox, last valued at $10 billion, reportedly hired Goldman Sachs (GS) and J.P. Morgan (JPM) to handle the offering.

Intel (INTC) said that the recently-issued patches for flaws in its chips could cause some computers to reboot more often than normal. The company also said it might need to issue updates to fix those buggy patches. (Reuters)

Walmart (WMT) is shuttering 63 of its Sam's Club locations across the U.S. Some stores went dark as early as Thursday, and not all of the retailer's employees were notified in advance. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

IBM (IBM) has replaced Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter with Senior Vice President James Kavanaugh. Schroeter is moving to a new role as senior vice president for global markets.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) said its chips are susceptible to the security flaw known as "Spectre", which can let hackers steal sensitive information. AMD had said earlier that the risk was "near zero" but maintains there has been no change in its view.

Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) will invest more than $1 billion in its Warren, Michigan plant, and will shift production of its Ram pickup trucks from Mexico to that plant in 2020. The move will create 2,500 jobs at the factory.

Ford Motor (F) is urging 2,900 owners of certain older pickup trucks to stop driving them, after confirming a second death in a truck containing a defective Takata airbag inflator. The defective part is contained in certain 2006 Ford Rangers.

The FCC has paused its review of Sinclair Broadcast Group's (SBGI) purchase of Tribune Media (TRCO) while it examines Sinclair's offer to divest certain assets.

Qualcomm (QCOM) is close to winning European Union approval for its proposed $39 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), according to the Wall Street Journal.

WATERCOOLER

Louis Vuitton is reportedly making its own luggage tracker and it will be the first such device to work internationally. The device apparently will be able to operate for six months on a full battery and recharge via USB. (Engadget)