2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the Producer Price Index for March at 8.30 a.m. EDT, retail sales for March, also at 8:30 a.m., and the University of Michigan Sentiment Index at 9:55 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday rose as new claims for jobless benefits fell for the first time in four weeks and investors continued to bet on equities emboldened by expectations that central banks worldwide will maintain policies to bolster their economies. The S&P 500 gained 0.36% to close at 1,593.37 after the index shattered its intraday record of 1,576.09 set in October 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.42% to finish at 14,865.14 after touching a record intraday high of 14,887.51 late morning. The Nasdaq gained 0.09% to 3,300.16.
4. -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) said Friday that first-quarter profit rose 33% year over year on the back of higher revenue and improving credit quality in its consumer banking business. The New York banking giant reported record net income for the first quarter of $6.5 billion, or $1.59 a share, compared with earnings of $4.92 billion, or $1.19 a share, in the first quarter of 2012. Revenue for the first quarter was $25.85 billion, down 3% year over year, but up 6% from the fourth quarter. Analysts expected earnings of $1.39 per share on revenue of $25.86 billion.
5. -- Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report), which is No. 4 in assets, is expected by analysts on Friday to report first-quarter profit of 88 cents a share. The bank earned 75 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter. Profits have risen the last three quarters at Wells Fargo, including a gain of 24% in the fourth quarter.
6. -- J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) has hired bankers at Blackstone Group (BX) for advice on how the struggling department-store chain can raise $1 billion in cash, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. One option could be to sell a minority stake in Penney , and the company has reached out to and heard from possible investors including private-equity firms, the people told the newspaper.
7. -- LinkedIn (LNKD - Get Report) agreed to pay about $90 million to acquire Pulse, which makes an e-reader platform used on mobile devices. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
8. -- Eli Lilly (LLY - Get Report) said it will cut hundreds of U.S. sales jobs as it prepares to deal with the loss of patent protection for top-selling drugs Cymbalta and Evista. A spokesman said the job cuts will total less than 1,000 full-time employees.