Stock futures were pointing to a sharply lower open after a selloff Thursday. Investors were concerned about the global economy after a disappointing manufacturing report out of China. Investors also dumped global currencies on rising uncertainty about emerging markets. U.S. corporate earnings season has been solid, if a bit lackluster, but not strong enough to overcome other forces. The Dow (^DJI) has been down each day of this shortened week, closing Thursday at its lowest level since December 19th. Next week, the Federal Reserve is expected to announce the next cutback in its bond-buying program.
Samsung warned this morning that it sees a weak first half of the year on rapidly slowing growth in its mobile business. The company reported fourth quarter results, including profit growth of 3.7%, a steep slowdown from the third quarter's 25.6%. The company also said it expects competition in smartphones to become even more fierce. The report comes ahead of Apple's (AAPL) earnings, which are expected after the bell Monday. Investors are expecting Apple to see iPhone shipments increase based on its deal with China Mobile, the world's largest carrier.
Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) spiked after the software giant reported earnings yesterday of $0.78 a share, beating expectations by $0.10 while revenue rose 14%. The earnings were boosted by strong sales of its software and services for businesses as well as the sale of 7.4 million XboxOne consoles during the holiday season and the doubling of sales of its Surface tablet. The good news overshadowed the fact that the company is still without a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer, who is stepping down this year.
Proctor & Gamble (PG) reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street estimates and revenue roughly in line. The company reported profits this morning of $1.21 a share, beating analysts’ estimates by a penny. Revenue missed estimates just slightly and remained largely flat compared to last year.
The FBI has warned retailers to be prepared for more cyberattacks like the attack at Target that compromised 70 million customer accounts. The warning says the FBI has discovered about 20 hacking cases in the last year that used the same kind of "malware" as the target attack. The bureau also said the malicious software is accessible and affordable in underground forums.
And Google's (GOOG) Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, says technological innovation is threatening jobs that once seemed safe from extinction. Speaking in a briefing at the World Economic Forum in Davos he said: “the race is between computers and people” and “it’s very important we find things that people are really good at.” In today’s poll: do you think a computer could do your job? Cast your vote on the right side of the Hot Stock Minute page and post your comments below as well.