U.S. stock market index futures were higher on Friday as investors tried to hang onto the January rally amid worries about monetary policy and slowing earnings. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 14 points, or less than 0.1%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 futures gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively. Netflix jumped 7% after posting more subscribers than expected even though its quarterly earnings missed analysts’ estimates. Alphabet rose 3% after the company announced it will lay off 12,000 employees. Wall Street is coming off another down session, with the Dow and the S&P 500 posting three-day losing streaks as corporate earnings and economic data signal a slowing economy. The Dow slipped more than 252 points, or 0.76% and is now down 0.31% year to date. The S&P 500 shed 0.76% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.96%, but both indexes are positive for the year. For the week, all three indexes are on track to close lower. The Dow is down 3.67%, on track for its worst week since September. The S&P 500 is down more than 2.5% and could notch its worst weekly performance since December. The Nasdaq is down more than 2% and on pace to break a two-week win streak. “The market is focused and is not sure how to react between the backward looking Fed analysis of the market versus the forward and leading indicators of the market,” said Tim Seymour, founder and chief investment officer of Seymour Asset Management, on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” Those forward indicators include economic data such as retail sales and industrial production. “This is where the market is starting to break down,” he said. Going forward, investors will continue to watch corporate earnings with oilfield services name SLB and Ally Financial set to report Friday. They will also listen closely to speeches from Fed officials ahead of the central bank’s February meeting, seeking clues on the size of the rate hike that’s likely forthcoming. Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher on Friday as investors digested Japan’s inflation data. The nationwide core consumer price index rose 4% in December on an annualized basis, the fastest pace since 1981. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.56% to close its session at 26,553.53 and the Topix traded 0.59% higher to end at 1,926.87. The yield on the 10-year Japanese Government Bond slightly fell 0.386%, falling further below the central bank’s upper ceiling of its tolerance range. The Kospi in South Korea rose 0.63% to 2,395.26 and the Kosdaq gained 0.71% 717.97. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 pared earlier losses to gain 0.23% to 7,452.2. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.6% in its final hour of trade and the Hang Seng Tech index climbed 2.63%, leading gains in the region. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite traded 0.76% higher to close at 3,264.81 as the nation’s central bank left China’s 1-year and 5-year loan prime rates unchanged. The Shenzhen Component rose 0.57% to 11,980.62. Oil rose on Friday and was heading for a second straight weekly gain, spurred largely by brightening economic prospects for China and resulting expectations of a boost to fuel demand in the world’s second-biggest economy. The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in China is set to increase global demand to a record high this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday, a day after OPEC also forecast a Chinese demand rebound in 2023. Brent crude gained 48 cents, or 0.6%, to trade at $86.64 a barrel. U.S. crude advanced 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $80.55. Gold prices scaled their highest levels since late April on Friday and were on track for a fifth consecutive weekly gain amid anticipation of slower rate hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve and fears of a possible recession. Spot gold was little changed at $1,929.70 per ounce. Prices rose 0.5% this week so far. U.S. gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,931.80.
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