Earnings, consumer sentiment, job openings data: 3 things to watch for in the markets on Friday

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Here are the most important things to know about Friday before you hit the door.

1. Earnings season continues

We'll get earnings from Citizens Financial, Kansas City Southern and J.B. Hunt before the bell on Friday.

Sandler O'Neill said it expects Citizens Financial to report earnings per share of 96 cents, in line with consensus estimates. The firm said it will be looking at how low interest rates are effecting net interest margin. Shares of Citizens Financial have jumped more than 12% in the last three months.

After rallying more than 20% in the last three months, Bank of America expects transportation company Kansas City Southern to report $1.75 per share, compared with the $1.56 earned last year. The firm said it is bullish on Kansas City Southern due to potential "Mexican industrial recovery in 2020 following the passage of USMCA," said Bank of America analyst Ken Hoexter in a note to clients.

Trucking company J.B. Hunt reports quarterly earnings on Friday and is expected to report earnings of $1.50, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates. In the fourth quarter last year, J.B. Hunt earned $1.78 per share. J.B. Hunt's stock is up about 4% in the last three months.

Schlumberge and Fastenal also report quarterly earnings on Friday.

2. Healthy consumer?

We'll get an early read on the health of the consumer on Friday with January's preliminary consumer sentiment data set to release at 10:00 a.m. Sentiment in the U.S. in December came in at 99.3, according to data released by the University of Michigan, beating estimates of 96.8.

A higher reading means consumers feel more confident about current and future economic conditions. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting a slight jump in sentiment to 99.5.


November's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which measures the level of employment vacancies as well as how many workers left their jobs, will be released on Friday at 10 a.m. by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists estimate 7.24 million job vacancies, down from 7.27 million vacancies in October.

The JOLTS data lags other employment indicators, like nonfarm payrolls, by a month but is still watched closely by the White House and the Federal Reserve as an indicator of the health of the labor market.

The U.S. jobs market ended 2019 on a sour note, with December's payroll and wage growth missing expectations, according to Labor Department figures released last week. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 145,000 while economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for job growth of 160,000.

Major events (all times ET):

8:00 a.m. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker

8:30 a.m. Housing starts

9:15 a.m. Industrial production

10:00 a.m. Consumer sentiment

10:00 a.m. JOLTS

Major earnings:

Schlumberger (before the bell)

Citizens Financial (before the bell)

JB Hunt (before the bell)

Fastenal (before the bell)

Kansas City Southern (before the bell)

— with reporting from CNBC's Michael Bloom.