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U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength On Upbeat Earnings News


Stocks are likely to move to the upside in early trading on Friday following the mixed close seen in the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 80 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to earnings from Intel (INTC) and American Express (AXP).

Shares of Intel are up by 4.9 percent in pre-market trading after the semiconductor giant reported fourth quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Intel also provided upbeat guidance for the current year and said its board of directors approved a five percent cash dividend increase.

American Express is also seeing significant pre-market strength after the financial services giant reported better than expected fourth quarter results.

The markets may also continue to benefit from the World Health Organization's determination that it is too early to declare the Chinese coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

"Make no mistake, this is an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday.

The WHO noted an emergency committee stands ready to be reconvened to reconsider formally declaring the situation a PHEIC.

After moving to the downside early in the session, stocks showed a notable rebound over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages climbed well off their lows of the session, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reaching positive territory.

The major averages finished the day mixed, as the Dow climbed off its worst levels but still closed in the red. While the Dow edged down 26.18 points or 0.1 percent to 29,160.06, the Nasdaq rose 18.71 points or 0.2 percent to 9,402.48 and the S&P 500 inched up 3.79 points or 0.1 percent to 3,325.54.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved modestly higher, with several major markets closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index crept up by 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has jumped by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 1.5 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.36 to $55.23 a barrel after tumbling $1.15 to $55.59 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after climbing $8.70 to $1,565.40 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $5.30 to $1,560.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.54 yen versus the 109.49 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1037 compared to yesterday's $1.1055.

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