2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday is bare.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Thursday jumped, driving the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to new closing and intra-day highs after a spate of upbeat earnings reports, and after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress the central bank was staying its course on stimulus. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% to 1,689.37 after trading as high as 1,693.12 . The advances bring the index's year-to-date gain to 18.5%. The Dow rose 0.5% to 15,548.54 after touching an intraday high of 15,589.40 while the Nasdaq was little changed at 3,611.28.
4. -- General Electric (GE - Get Report) is forecast by Wall Street on Friday to post second-quarter earnings of 35 cents a share, declining from 39 cents in the first quarter and 38 cents during the second quarter of 2012. Investors can expect a lackluster second quarter from GE, leading into what CEO Jeff Immelt said he expects will be a strong second half of 2013 for industrial orders.
5. -- Software giant Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) fiscal fourth-quarter results missed Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates. Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $19.9 billion, up from $18.06 billion in the year-earlier quarter, but well below the $20.73 billion expected by analysts. Excluding items, Microsoft earned 52 cents a share, down from 73 cents a share in the same period last year, and below Wall Street's forecast of 75 cents a share. The company also lowered its operating expense guidance for fiscal year 2014 to $31.3 billion from $31.9 billion. Microsoft acknowledged on Thursday the impact of a weak PC market, but pointed to strength in other areas.
6. -- Google (GOOG - Get Report), the Internet search giant, posted second-quarter earnings that missed analysts' expectations. Google earned $9.56 a share on $11.1 billion in revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs. Including TAC, which Google shares with its partners, the company generated $14.11 billion in revenue for the quarter. Analysts were expecting profit of $10.78 a share on revenue of $14.42 billion, including TAC. Excluding TAC, revenue was expected at $11.33 billion. Costs-per-click, a key advertising metric, continued to be weak for Google, falling 6% year over year, and 2% sequentially. That weighed on results, as investors continue to worry whether mobile ads can ever be monetized at the rate desktop ads are.
7. -- Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal see Janet Yellen , the Federal Reserve's vice chairwoman, as the clear front-runner to succeed Ben Bernanke as the central bank's leader when his term ends in January. Thirty-five of 42 economists polled said they expected Yellen to be President Barack Obama's nominee to run the Fed, beating out other possible candidates including Obama's former economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, the Journal said.