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Pre-Market: JPMorgan Prepares Pink Slips; T-Mobile Beats Expectations


Home Depot, fueled by the recovery in the US housing market, reports better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits.

Stocks are set to open lower this morning as investors look forward to data on consumer confidence and housing prices.

Before the opening bell, Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were down 0.15% to 16,162. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures fell by 0.26% to 1,841.80. Futures on the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) sank 0.19% to 3,681.00.

T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) had a smaller-than-expected loss of $0.03 in the fourth quarter. Revenue of $6.83 billion came up short of expectations, however. The carrier added more than 981,000 more customers than it lost in the quarter, bringing its subscriber base to 1.6 million. It's post-paid no-contract customers increased 80% year-over-year. Shares of the carrier rose 0.3% in the pre-market.

T-Mobile positions itself as the answer to customer frustrations with AT&T (NYSE:T). The larger carrier is responding to that competitive pressure. Today, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, AT&T announced that it will introduce cheaper international calls and text messaging.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD), fueled by the recovery in the US housing market, reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits. Earnings fell 0.8% to $1.01 billion from $1.02 billion a year earlier. The fall is attributed to an extra week in the quarter a year earlier. Per share, profit rose by a nickel to $0.73. Home Depot also raised its dividend by more than a fifth to $0.47 per quarter. Shares rose 2.4% in early trading.

After this weekend's news that Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) will pay Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) for more direct access to customers, many speculated that the video-streaming company would reach similar agreements with other cable providers. Late yesterday, it was confirmed that AT&T and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) are working on deals where Netflix could pay for higher-quality streaming.

(See: Netflix and Comcast Sign Deal: Is 4K Streaming a Factor?)

The Financial Times reported today that in addition to the 10,000 to 15,000 jobs that it planned to ax in an efficiency program, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) will cut thousands more jobs in its mortgage business due to poor demand for loans and higher interest rates. Some clerical workers will also be made redundant by automation. The company is expected to announce the layoffs at its investor day today.

In economic news, the biggest news will come from the consumer confidence report for February at 10 a.m. Economists expect the index to tick down to 80.1 from 80.7. Also to come this morning is the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which is expected to show that the housing market is cooling. In the 20 cities that the index tracks, prices likely rose 0.6% month-over-month in November 2013, after rising 0.9% in October.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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