STOCK MARKET NEWS: Big banks report, more inflation data, Tesla cuts US prices

U.S. equity futures were searching for direction Friday morning ahead of the big banks kicking off earnings season.

Oil prices gained Friday and were on track for gains of more than 6% for the week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded around $78.00 per barrel.

Brent crude futures traded around $83.00 a barrel.

Several big banks will kick off fourth-quarter earnings season Friday morning.

JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Bank of New York are all scheduled to post results ahead of the opening bell. 

On the economic docket, prices of imported goods likely fell 0.9% month-over-month, following a 0.2% slide in October.

Export prices are expected to fall 0.5% in December.

Also watch as the University of Michigan releases its preliminary index of consumer sentiment for January. 

It’s expected to inch higher to 60.5 after climbing more than expected to 59.7 in December on easing inflation expectations.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1% and China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 1%.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 3,983.17. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 34,189.97. The Nasdaq advanced 0.6% to 11,001.10.