Feb. 7 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Friday, Feb. 7:  

1.-- U.S. stock futures were pointing to gain on Wall Street ahead of January nonfarm payrolls data.

European stocks were higher. Asian shares ended the session with gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 2.2%.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the nonfarm payrolls report for January at 8:30 a.m. EST, and consumer credit for December at 3 p.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Thursday rose as jobless claims came in lower than expected, suggesting the labor situation was improving despite recent data weakness in other sectors. The S&P 500 closed up 1.24% to 1,773.43, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.22% -- its first close up 1% this year -- to 15,628.46. The Nasdaq increased 1.14% to 4,057.12.

4.-- Apple (AAPL) has purchased $14 billion of its own shares in the two weeks since reporting financial results that disappointed Wall Street, CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Cook said Apple was "surprised" by the 8% decline in its shares on Jan. 28, the day after it reported lower iPhone sales than projected and warned that revenue in the current quarter might decline from the same period a year ago, the Journal reported. Cook said he wanted to be "aggressive" and "opportunistic."

With the latest purchases, Cook told the newspaper that Apple has repurchased more than $40 billion of its shares over the past 12 months. According to Cook, that's a record for any company over a similar span.

Apple shares rose 1.7% to $521 in premarket trading on Friday.

5.-- IBM (IBM) is exploring a sale of its semiconductor business, the Financial Times reported.

IBM appointed Goldman Sachs to sound out possible buyers for the business, according to people familiar with the matter, the FT reported. IBM is not wedded to the idea of selling and could also seek a partner with which to create a joint venture for its semiconductor operations, the people said. A value for the business could not be learned, according to the FT.

IBM shares rose 0.5% in early trading.

6.-- LinkedIn (LNKD) forecast on Thursday revenue for 2014 that fell short of analysts' estimates.

The professional services Web site said revenue for the year is likely to total $2.05 billion, less than the $2.16 billion average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters. First-quarter sales guidance for $455 million to $460 million was below consensus by as much as $10 million.

The stock fell 6.5% in premarket trading to $208.99.

7.-- News Corp  (NWSA) reported fiscal second-quarter profit on Thursday of $150 million, or 26 cents a share, down from $1.4 billion, or $2.42 a share, a year earlier, which included a $1.3 billion gain from an acquisition. Adjusted earnings were 31 cents a share; analysts were looking for 21 cents. 

8.-- Fortune magazine named General Motors' (GM) new CEO Mary Barra as the Most Powerful Woman in Business in a global ranking. 

Barra took over the automaker on Jan. 15. 

9.-- Madison Square Garden ( MSG) is forecast by analysts to report on Friday fiscal second-quarter earnings of 67 cents a share.

10.-- Mathew Martoma, a former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager, was convicted Thursday of helping the company owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen earn more than a quarter-billion dollars illegally through trades based on secrets about the testing of a potential breakthrough Alzheimer's drug.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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