Stocks: It's earnings time

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U.S. stock futures were lower ahead of Wednesday's opening bell, as investors digest results from several major financial institutions.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) beat expectations and posted earnings per share of $1.39. The company also revealed that the bonus of its chief executive, Jamie Dimon, was cut by more than half after the London Whale debacle over bad trades. Shares lost almost 1% in premarket trading.

Goldman Sachs (GS) reported better-than-anticipated earnings of $5.60 per share, which boosted the stock more than 2% in early morning trading.

Meanwhile, U.S. Bancorp (USB) earnings came in at 72 cents per share, in line with expectations, but shares fell nearly 1%. Charles Schwab (SCHW) will report before the opening bell.

The financial sector is expected to lead the way in earnings growth, according to analysts. Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.2% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ.

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As for economic reports, the government's key measure of inflation showed that U.S. consumer prices slowed to a 1.7% annual increase last month -- mostly due to a decline in gas prices.

The government will release data on foreign purchases of Treasuries at 9 a.m., followed by reports on industrial production and capacity utilization.

At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book, a survey of regional economies.

Shares of Chipotle (CMG) plummeted 9% in early trading, after the Mexican food chain restaurant revised fourth-quarter earnings well below analysts' expectations.

Boeing (BA) shares were down more than 4% on Wednesday morning. Two Japanese airlines grounded their fleets of 787 aircraft after one of All Nippon Airways' Dreamliners was forced into an emergency landing.

eBay (EBAY) reports after the close.

U.S. stocks ended mixed Tuesday in light trading as investors awaited the wave of corporate results.

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European markets were weaker in afternoon trading, with auto stocks falling on poor December registrations data.

Asian markets ended lower. The Nikkei dropped 2.6%, while China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.7% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.1%.

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