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Jan. 23 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Tickers in this article: BRK.A EBAY IBM JPM MCD NFLX SBUX

Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Jan. 23:  

1.-- U.S. stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open lower on Thursday after a preliminary HSBC report said manufacturing output in China, the world's second-largest economy, could contract in January.

The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China fell 0.5% while Japan's Nikkei 225 finished down by 0.8%.

European stocks were trading mostly to the upside early Thursday.

2.-- The  economic calendar  in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, the FHFA Housing Price Index for November at 9 a.m., existing home sales for December at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for December at 10 a.m.

3.-- U.S. stocks  on Wednesday finished flat, with the  S&P 500  rising slightly as corporate earnings reports came in mixed. The S&P 500 rose 0.06% to close at 1,844.86, while the  Dow Jones Industrial Average  fell 0.25% to 16,373.34. The  Nasdaq gained 0.41% to finish at 4,243. 

4.-- China's Lenovo, the world's largest PC maker, agreed to acquire  IBM's x86 server business for $2.3 billion, and said it expects to offer jobs to 7,500 IBM employees in locations around the world.

IBM will continue to develop Windows and Linux software for the x86 platform and will provide service to customers for an extended period after the acquisition, the companies said.

5.-- Activist investor Carl Icahn has taken a large stake in  eBay  and is calling for the company to spin off its highly successful payments division  PayPal.

EBay said in a fourth-quarter earnings release that Icahn, who owns a 0.82% stake in eBay, has nominated two of his employees to the company's board and submitted a non-binding proposal for the spinoff, which would seek to split PayPal off from eBay's online marketplace businesses, which also include ticket re-seller  StubHub and fulfillment specialist  GSI Commerce .

San Jose-based eBay said Icahn's appointments would be passed onto a nominating committee of the company's board. EBay also disclosed that it has already explored a spinoff or separation of PayPal in an "in depth" manner. Those assessments, however, led the company to believe it was in the best interest of shareholders to keep PayPal intertwined with the larger company.

EBay posted fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday of $850 million, or 65 cents a share, up 13% from year-earlier earnings of $751 million, or 57 cents a share. Adjusted earnings were 81 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations by a penny.

Revenue in the fourth quarter rose 13% to $4.53 billion

6.-- Netflix , the online entertainment company, posted better than expected fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday and said it was testing different pricing levels.

Netflix posted earnings of 79 cents a share on revenue of $1.18 billion. It ended the quarter with 33.42 million streaming subscribers, of whom 31.71 million were paying members. Streaming margins hit 23% in the fourth quarter.