5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing slightly higher Friday ahead of the start of trading for Facebook ( FB) and after a downgrade of Spanish banks dinged global shares.

European shares were lower amid the Moody's downgrade Thursday of 16 Spanish banks and increasing concerns that political turmoil could force Greece to leave the 17-country euro currency union.

Asian shares tanked Friday, with Japan's Nikkei 225 dropping 3% to close at 8,611.31, its lowest close in four months, on signs of manufacturing weakness in the U.S.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday is clear.


Facebook's ( FB) eagerly anticipated IPO was priced on Thursday at $38 a share.

The pricing will give Facebook a valuation of $104 billion, significantly above the market caps of Dell ( DELL) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ).

At $38 a share, the offering will raise more than $16 billion. It's the biggest Internet IPO ever.


Computer giant Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) is reportedly set to cut 8% of its work force, or roughly 25,000 jobs.

Bloomberg said HP is being forced to rightsize its staff to cope with slow demand for its products and services. Bloomberg cited undisclosed people who have been briefed on the issue.

HP's enterprise services group is expected to see a work force reduction of 10,000 to 15,000 people.


Earnings expected Friday include Ann ( ANN), Foot Locker ( FL) and Hibbett Sports ( HIBB).


President Barack Obama meets Friday with incoming French President Francois Hollande ahead of a meeting of G8 leaders this weekend and a NATO summit.

Experts say Obama will try to use the opportunity to build rapport with Hollande and stress the importance of European cohesion, according to a Reuters report.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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