1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising slightly Friday after General Electric (GE) topped earnings forecasts while European shares declined ahead of the first round of voting in France's closely watched presidential election.
France goes to the polls Sunday in an election that could decide the fate of the European Union and which is proving as unpredictable as it is important.
Eleven candidates will be in the initial round of voting. Any of four of them, spanning the spectrum from extreme-right to extreme-left, could progress to a second round of voting on May 7, when the two most popular candidates will face off.
The election will be closely monitored by financial markets and the continent, especially since it comes after Thursday's shooting on Paris' Champs-Elysees boulevard that killed a police officer and wounded three other people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the U.S. on Friday, the economic calendar includes the PMI Services Composite Flash for April at 9:45 a.m. EDT, Existing Home Sales for March at 10 a.m., and the weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count at 1 p.m.
Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari will take part in a Q&A on the state of the economy, the role local community developers play in our financial health, and what lies ahead for community development corporations at the Hamline University Community Economic Development Symposium in St. Paul, Minn., at 9:30 a.m.
2. -- Visa (V) reported profit higher than analysts' estimates amid accelerating payment growth and the integration of a former European subsidiary it repurchased.
The credit card giant's adjusted earnings of 86 cents a share in its fiscal second quarter topped forecasts of 79 cents. Payment volume climbed 39% to $1.7 trillion.
"Similar to the first quarter, our business momentum was broad-based with solid payment volume growth, a double-digit increase in cross-border revenue and healthy metrics from all of the regions," CEO Alfred Kelly, who succeeded Charlie Scharf, said on an earnings call.
Schlumberger ( SLB) also is expected to report earnings on Friday.
The South Korea-based electronics company, a rival to Apple (AAPL) , said that pre-orders for the S8 exceeded those of its predecessor, the S7, which was released last March, according to Samsung's mobile chief D.J. Koh.
A report from South Korea claimed that the smartphone has exceeded 1 million pre-orders in South Korea, the highest ever for a smartphone in the country. The phone was originally unveiled on March 29 with pre-orders being accepted starting April 7.
Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion etc., in about four years, Musk said in an interview with website Wait But Why.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant "neural laces" in their brains to keep up, Musk said in a tech conference last year, Reuters noted.
The technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability, which would depend heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities, Musk was quoted as saying in the Wait But Why article.
Neuralink was registered in California as a "medical research" company last July, and he plans on funding the company mostly by himself, according to Reuters.