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Pre-Market Primer: China Growth Accelerates; GE Beats

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Japan is getting closer to a non-independent central bank.

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Stock future are mostly higher today on mixed earnings and signs that Chinese economic growth is re-accelerating.

Today, the Reuter's/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index will be released at 9:55 a.m. EST. Experts predict that the index will fall 5.5 points to 75.0, showing that consumers are less optimistic this month.

Stock futures fluctuated between gains and losses this morning following Thursday's gains. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures were up 0.05% at 13,549. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.05% to 1,476.50 and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures slipped 0.24% to 2,734.00.

Asian shares rallied overnight. Japan's Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:.NI225) surged 2.86% as the Bank of Japan seems to be caving to pressure from the government to fight deflation and devalue the yen.

Chinese stocks also rose today, helped by a better-than-expected report on fourth quarter GDP. The Chinese economy grew by 7.9% year-over-year, an improvement over the third quarter's 7.4% gain. China was helped by strong industrial production, consumer spending, trade, and fiscal stimulus from the government in the last three months of 2012. For the full year, the economy grew by 7.8%, the slowest rate of GDP growth the country had since 1999.

Economic bellwether General Electric (NYSE:GE) beat earnings expectations. Adjusted income grew by 13% to $0.44 per share on revenue of $39.3 billion. GE's unit that makes jet engines grew 22% and it's oil and gas business grew by 14%. GE Capital, its financial services arm, showed a 6% improvement despite it being scaled back lately. Shares of the company rose 3.66% in pre-market trading.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) reported a 3% drop in sales last quarter and warned that the current period may see revenue drop further. The chipmaker earned $0.48 per share on $13.5 billion in sales in the last three months of 2012. With demand for PCs dwindling, Intel sees revenue increasing by "a low single-digit percentage" in 2013. Intel currently dominates the market for PC chips, but lags far behind rivals in mobile computing.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) shares rose 6% this morning after Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy from hold. The company is soon to release the long-awaited BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) fell 6% this morning after reporting higher loan losses and disappointing fourth quarter profits. The company earned $843 million, or $1.41 per share, falling short of analyst projections of $1.59 per share.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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