Stocks: 5 things to know before the open

July 18, 2014: 6:21 AM ET
premarkets friday
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LONDON (CNNMoney)

It could be a nervy session for markets Friday as geopolitical tensions shake investor sentiment.

Here are the 5 things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. World markets extend slide: World markets fell further on Friday on fear of escalating tensions in Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in the east of the country.

The U.S. believes Flight MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile over a region that has seen heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.

Analysts say the tragedy could damage business confidence, particularly in Europe, but may also bring the crisis in Ukraine to a head by increasing the pressure on Moscow to resolve the conflict.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

2. U.S. futures flat: U.S. stock futures were holding steady after Thursday's sharp sell-off, which gathered pace on news that Israel had sent ground troops into Gaza.

The flurry of geopolitical concerns sent the VIX (VIX), a key measure of market volatility to its highest level in three months Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 161 points, while the S&P 500 was off about 1.2%, and the Nasdaq finished down 1.4%. It was the biggest drop for the Dow in two months, and the S&P's fall is the biggest for the index in three months.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

3. Earnings season continues: General Electric (GE) and Honeywell (HON) will report earnings before the opening bell.

Google (GOOGL, Tech30) shares gained 1.7% premarket after the company reported another quarter of surging sales growth. News that Japan's Softbank has hired away Google's global sales chief Nikesh Arora may pique investor interest.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

4. Economic data diary: The University of Michigan will post its consumer sentiment measurement at 9:55 a.m. ET.

5. Tax inversion deal: Drugmaker AbbVie (ABBV) could unveil a deal to buy Shire (SHPG) as early as Friday, according to reports. The $54 billion acquisition would be the latest by a U.S. firm looking to move its tax base overseas to save money.

Markets
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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,081.81 57.64 0.32%
Nasdaq 4,786.71 21.29 0.45%
S&P 500 2,087.05 4.88 0.23%
Treasuries 2.29 0.03 1.51%
Data as of Dec 24
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 18.04 0.12 0.64%
Gilead Sciences Inc 92.34 2.89 3.23%
General Electric Co 25.71 -0.17 -0.66%
Cisco Systems Inc 28.57 0.32 1.13%
Apple Inc 112.22 -0.32 -0.28%
Data as of Dec 24