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Pre-Market Primer: Media Earnings Up; Nikkei Surges on Shirakawa Departure

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Zynga made a profit last quarter.

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After yesterday's rally, stock index futures are slightly lower ahead of the opening bell as major media companies rose on strong earnings.

Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) beat earnings estimates with $1.17 per share as net profit increased by 55%. Revenue of $8.2 billion trailed estimates, however. The company also said it will buy back $4 billion in shares and raise its quarterly dividend to $0.2875 per share. Shares rose 3.28% to $49.96.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) reported earnings per share of $0.79 on $11.34 billion in revenue, beating estimates. Yesterday, the media company issued stronger guidance on expectations that forthcoming films will become hits and more customers will flock to its theme parks. Shares were up 3% in pre-market trading.

Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) surprised analysts with a profit in the fourth quarter. The online gaming company lost $48.6 million on $311 million in sales, helped by cost cutting and deferred revenue. Adjusted earnings was $0.01 per share. Shares are up 4.74% before the bell.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) will report earnings after the bell today. Analysts believe that the company will reported earnings of $0.65 per share, up $0.05 from a year earlier.

Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures are 0.01% down at 13,908. After rising the most in a month, futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) ticked down 0.08% to 1,504.80 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures slipped 0.21% to 2,743.50. Oil futures slipped 1.22% to $94.45 a barrel. There are no economic announcements due out of the United States today.

Japan's Nikkei Index (INDEXNIKKEI:.NI225) rose 3.8% and closed at its highest levels in four and a half years after news that Masaaki Shirakawa, the governor of the Bank of Japan, offered to step down early. The government has been pressuring the central bank, even threatening to take away its independence if it didn't adopt more aggressive easing policies. Investors are hoping that Shirakawa's successor will bend to the government's wishes. The yen fell to 94.075 to the dollar, the lowest level since May 2010.

German factory orders rose 0.8% last month, beating estimates. Domestic orders fell 1.2%, but in a sign that demand could recover in the eurozone, orders to the region rose 7%. This year, Germany is expected to grow while the eurozone contracts 0.3%.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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