Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Jan. 17:
2.-- Housing starts in December fell 9.8% compared with an increase of 23.1% in November; the decline is the biggest drop since April 2013, according to Reuters.
Industrial production and capacity utilization figures for December are scheduled for 9:15 a.m. EST, and the University of Michigan index of sentiment for January is set for 9:55 a.m.
3.-- U.S. stocks on Thursday closed lower amid a spate of lackluster corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 finished off 0.13% to 1,845.89 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.39% at 16,417.01. The Nasdaq rose 0.09% to close at 4,218.69.
4.-- GE reported on Friday fourth-quarter industrial profit margin of 18.3%, up 100 basis points from a year earlier.
The conglomerate fell just shy of hitting its goal of a 70-basis-point improvement for its industrial margin of 2013, which rose 66 basis points from the previous year to 15.72%, excluding acquisitions.
GE reported fourth-quarter operating earnings of $5.42 billion, or 53 cents a share, up from $4.66 billion, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. Fourth-quarter EPS, up 20%, met the consensus estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was $40.382 billion, increasing from $29.162 billion a year earlier.
GE shares fell 1.7% in premarket trading Friday to $26.74.
5.-- Morgan Stanley on Friday reported fourth-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share, or 20 cents on an adjusted basis, though both figures were weighed down by legal costs.
Net revenue of $7.8 billion for the fourth quarter compared with $7 billion a year ago and $7.93 billion in the third quarter. Full-year revenue was $32.4 billion compared to $26.1 billion in 2012. Income from continuing operations was $3.1 billion, or $1.43 a share, compared with income of $138 million, or 2 cents a share, in 2012.
Morgan Stanley shares rose 1.25% to $32.40 in premarket trading.
6.-- Intel (INTC), the world's biggest chipmaker, missed Wall Street estimates, sending shares lower by more than 3% in after-hours trading on Thursday.
Intel posted earnings of 51 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $13.8 billion. Gross margins came in at 62%.
Analysts expected Intel to earn 52 cents a share on revenue of $13.71 billion.
Intel noted its PC Client Group generated $8.6 billion in sales during the quarter, up 2% sequentially and flat from last year, as the segment looks to be bottoming out.
Intel shares fell 4.1% to $25.44 in premarket trading.
7.-- Yahoo!'s (YHOO) Editor-in-Chief Jai Singh has quit the company, according to RE/CODE, a departure that comes in the wake of changes made to its media unit after the firing of Chief Operating Officer Henrique de Castro on Wednesday.
Under a new plan announced by CEO Marissa Mayer in an internal memo, the media unit will now be run by Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt, RE/CODE reported.
TechCrunch reported it received confirmation of Singh's exit from a Yahoo! spokesperson.
The stock fell slightly to $40.30.
8.-- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) issued a fourth-quarter profit warning, saying Friday that results will be worse than most analysts expected due to a mix of lower production, higher costs, and a worse performance by its refining division.
The oil giant provided on Friday preliminary fourth-quarter net profit of $1.8 billion (1.32 billion euros), down from $6.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.
9.-- IBM (IBM) said Thursday it will spend $1.2 billion this to expand its cloud services. The company plans to build up to 15 new data centers in locales such as Washington, London, and Mexico, and expects to add data centers in the Middle East and Africa in 2015.
IBM rose 0.1% to $189 in premarket trading.
10.-- The Sacramento Kings will be the first major professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin virtual currency for ticket and merchandise purchases.
The Kings said Thursday that fans will be able to buy gear from the official team store and pay for tickets with the digital money beginning March 1. Purchases will be processed through BitPay, which accepts the digital dollars and pays the Kings in cash, The Associated Press reported.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel
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