Caterpillar earnings, Brexit, economic data: 3 things to watch for in the markets on Friday

Here are the most important things to know about Friday before you hit the door.

Industrial giant Caterpillar is set to report quarterly earnings before the bell Friday. Investors will look to the heavy machinery company to gauge the health of U.S. manufacturing, and any guidance on the impact from the coronavirus will also be crucial.

At the height of the U.S.-China trade war last year, Caterpillar took a big hit from higher material costs including tariffs.  Lower demand in China also made a dent in its profit. In the current earnings season, many major companies including Apple and McDonald’s have already sounded alarms on the negative impact from the fast-spreading virus.

Shares of Caterpillar have fallen nearly 10% in January alone, following a 16% gain last year.

Wall Street analysts have pretty low expectations for fourth-quarter results. FactSet consensus shows an EPS estimate of $2.38, lower than the $2.55 per share earned in the same quarter a year earlier.

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