Jobs Report, Credit Suisse, Uber, Activision and 'Friends' - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Stock futures decline ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs report for January; Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse, resigns following a spying scandal; Uber says it will be profitable by the end of 2020.
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Here are five things you must know for Friday, Feb. 7:

1. -- Stock Futures Fall Ahead of U.S. Jobs Report

Stock futures declined Friday as investors prepared for the release of the U.S. jobs report that could push equities higher and extend Wall Street's week-long rally.

The jobs data for January, to be issued at 8:30 a.m. ET, lead Friday's economic calendar. Ahead of the release, contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88 points, S&P 500 futures were down 8.45 points and Nasdaq futures declined 26 points.

Economists surveyed by FactSet expect 161,000 jobs were added in January vs. a 145,000 increase in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.5%. Average hourly earnings are forecast to rise 0.3% in January and 3% year on year. and offset lingering concerns over the coronavirus impact on the global economy.

Markets in Asia and Europe traded flat to mostly lower Friday as concerns continue to grow over the pace of new coronavirus infections and China's ability to contain it.

Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone call with President Donald Trump to assure him of China's efforts, but the death of a young doctor in Wuhan, who first identified the spread of the virus only to then be threatened by local police, has some observers concerned with the level of transparency about the information coming from Beijing.

But even with the death toll from the coronavirus rising to 640, infections passing 31,000, and analysts' forecasting a reduction of 2 percentage points in China's GDP, investors continue to pile into U.S. stocks, which closed at record highs Thursday.

Earnings reports are expected Friday from AbbVie  (ABBV) - Get Report, Canada Goose  (GOOS) - Get Report and Madison Square Garden  (MSG) - Get Report.

AbbVie is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells ABBV? Learn more now.

2. -- Credit Suisse CEO Thiam Resigns After Spying Scandal

Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse  (CS) - Get Report, abruptly resigned Friday following a spying scandal and a boardroom struggle with Chairman Urs Rohner.

Thiam was cleared by an internal probe last year of allegations that one of his closest allies at the bank had hired a private investigator to spy on a senior official who had recently been hired by crosstown rival UBS  (UBS) - Get Report.

The investigation found that Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee acted alone in ordering the surveillance of Iqbal Khan, the co-head of the bank's profitable wealth management arm. But tensions created by the scandal continued to linger between Thiam and Rohner.

“I will be an enthusiastic supporter of my colleagues, as they continue to build momentum in the business. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all at Credit Suisse for their support in my work. I will be forever grateful,” Thiam said in a statement. “I had no knowledge of the observation of two former colleagues. It undoubtedly disturbed Credit Suisse and caused anxiety and hurt. I regret that this happened and it should never have taken place.”

Thiam, who will step down after presenting quarterly earnings next week, will be replaced by Swiss banking veteran Thomas Gottstein. 

3. -- Uber Says It Will Be Profitable by the End of 2020

Uber  (UBER) - Get Report was rising sharply in premarket trading Friday after the ride-hailing company said it will turn a profit by the fourth quarter of 2020, earlier than its previous forecasts.

For the fourth quarter of 2019, Uber posted a narrower-than-expected loss of 64 cents a share vs. a loss of 68 cents expected by analysts. Revenue of $4.1 billion slightly beat estimates and gross bookings of $18 billion were in line with forecasts. 

On a conference call with investors, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber will turn its losses into a profit by the end of 2020, ahead of its prior target of 2021.

“Our progress in 2019 and our 2020 plans give me the confidence to challenge our teams to accelerate our EBITDA profitability target from full-year 2021 to Q4 2020,” Khosrowshahi said.

Uber has been focused on cost-cutting measures over the past several months in a bid to shrink its losses and become profitable. The measures have included multiple rounds of layoffs, and the recent sale of Uber Eats in India to local food delivery competitor Zomato.

The stock gained 7.31% to $39.80 in premarket trading.

4. -- Activision's Earnings Beat Led by 'Call of Duty'

Activision Blizzard  (ATVI) - Get Report was up 2.06% yo $61.50 in premarket trading after the maker of videogames reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue ahead of analysts' estimates and healthy first-quarter guidance.

The company reported earnings in the period of $1.23 a share on revenue of $2.71 billion. Analysts were expecting Activision to report earnings of $1.19 on revenue of $2.67 billion.

The company’s "Call of Duty" first-person shooting game once again was the crown jewel of the holiday season, generating more upfront console sales than any other franchise worldwide. That is the 10th time in the last 11 years "Call of Duty" achieved that status.

For the first quarter, the company said it expects to earn 66 cents a share on revenue of $1.64 billion, beating analysts' forecast on both metrics. However, earnings for the full year and net bookings were forecast below consensus expectations.

"All in, while we would never say to ignore guidance, we believe that in the case of Activision Blizzard, given management's well-known tendency to be conservative - which makes the first-quarter guide all the more impressive - it is more important to consider the underlying trends of the business," wrote Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Activision in its portfolio. "When we come at it from this angle, we are increasingly bullish as management has now firmly demonstrated its ability to reach a wider audience - and therefore increase monetization opportunities - by expanding already existing intellectual property to the mobile platform."

5. -- 'Friends' Cast Nears Deal for Reunion Special

Warner Bros. is finalizing agreements with the cast of “Friends” for a reunion special that likely will be used to launch the HBO Max streaming service this spring, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Warner Bros. and HBO Max are owned by AT&T  (T) - Get Report.

Each of the six stars of “Friends” is expected to receive between $2.25 million and $2.5 million for the show, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Journal.

The cast initially was offered $1 million for the special but they balked, said a person close to the cast, the Journal reported.

The special isn’t a new episode of the sitcom but rather a retrospective and interviews with the "Friends" cast.