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Pre-Market: Amazon Considers Raising Prime Membership Price; Microsoft May Promote Nadella to CEO


Personal income was flat, but spending rose last month.

Following poor results from Amazon, Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and worrying news from emerging markets, markets around the world are tumbling again, ending January lower.

Ahead of the opening bell, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) were down 0.71% at 15,621. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), which has declined nearly 3% this year, fell 0.68% to 1,769.10 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures declined by 0.39% to 3,488.25.

Yesterday, Amazon released disappointing earnings results and gave future guidance that missed expectations. The online retailer's net profit more than doubled to $239 million on $25.59 billion in revenue. Earnings per share came in at $0.51, which missed Wall Street's forecast of $0.66 per share in profit on $26.06 billion in revenue. The company said in the earnings call that it might raise the price of Amazon Prime membership by as much as 50% from $79, potentially adding half a million to its annual profits. But investors were still disappointed, sending Amazon shares down by 7.1%.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) reported that net profit and revenue both rose 17% to $3.38 billion and $16.86 billion, respectively, topping consensus. Adjusted earnings per share of $12.01 missed estimates by $0.28, however. Paid click growth rose 31% on a yearly basis, but the cost per click fell 11%, as mobile ad rates weigh on overall ad prices. Motorola Mobility, which was just sold to Lenovo Group (OTCMKTS:LNVGY), had an operating loss of $384 million.

Google also announced that it will finally make a long-awaited stock split. It will release 277 million C shares with no voting power, allowing the company to dole out stock to employees without diluting management's voting power. Shares were up by 4% in early trading.

Bloomberg reported today that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is likely to tap an insider as its next CEO. Enterprise and cloud product head Satya Nadella may be the one to succeed Steve Ballmer. Though the report is not yet confirmed, Microsoft shares rose 1% in pre-market trading.

The US government released some crucial economic indicators. Personal income was dead flat in December 2013, missing estimates that it would rise 0.2%. Consumer spending was better than anticipated, rising 0.4%. The employment cost index for the fourth quarter of 2013 rose 0.5% on a quarterly basis and 2% year-over-year.

The final reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for this month is due out later this morning. Economists say that the index is likely to rise to 81 from an earlier reading of 80.4.

Overseas economic news dampened the mood ahead on the last trading session of the month. German retail sales fell 2.5% on a monthly basis in December 2013. Economists had expected sales to rise that month. Russia's economy in 2013 grew at less than half the pace that it did in 2012. GDP rose 1.3% for the full year, compared with 3.4% in 2012. The biggest culprit was weak external demand for natural gas, which accounts for 70% of Russia's exports.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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