Bank earnings; Wells Fargo in focus; Fiat Chrysler faces the music

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1. Financial firms kick off earnings season: Bank of America (BAC), BlackRock (BLK), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (CBEAX) are releasing their fourth quarter earnings this morning.

The so-called Trump rally, which has sent stocks soaring to fresh records since November, has largely been led by financial institutions.

Investors have bid banking stocks up because they expect higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve and looser regulations on Wall Street.

2. Wells Fargo in the hot seat: While the banking sector prospects are looking rosy, the atmosphere may be subdued during Wells Fargo's earnings call.

New CEO Tim Sloan is expected to field tough questions about the bank's efforts to get past its fake accounts scandal.

Investors will be looking to see if Wells Fargo's account openings continued to plunge in December.

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3. Global stock market overview: Stock markets around the world are heading back up again after a negative Thursday.

U.S. stock futures are indicating markets will make modest gains at the open.

European markets are mostly higher in early trading. But Asian markets ended the day with mixed results.

This comes after the Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq both declined by 0.3%, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% over the previous trading session.

4. Market movers -- Fiat Chrysler, Takata: Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) shares trading in Milan staged a strong recovery after closing with a 16% loss on Thursday.

Investors hit the sell button after U.S. regulators accused the automaker of installing software that allowed its diesel-powered cars and trucks to cheat on emissions tests.

The accusation by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board is similar to the scandal that has plagued automaker Volkswagen (VLKAY) for more than a year.

Shares in Fiat are now up by about 4% in Milan.

And shares in the Japanese airbag maker Takata (TKTDY) surged by 16.5% Friday as investors expect that the company is close to settling a case with the U.S. Department of Justice over its deadly airbags. Reports say the announcement could come Friday.

The company's faulty airbags have led to at least 11 deaths.

5. Economics: The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing its December retail sales report at 8:30 a.m. ET. Investors will be looking to see whether rising consumer confidence led to increased spending.

And -- speak of the devil! -- the University of Michigan is releasing a reading on consumer sentiment for January at 10 a.m.

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6. Coming this week:

Friday - Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) report earnings