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Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

Investors will be paying extra attention to oil markets on Friday following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

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

1. Transfer of power: Saudi Arabia is in transition following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud. A successor has already been named, and oil market reaction has been muted. Most analysts expect a smooth leadership transition and a continuation of the kingdom's oil policy.

Still, investors will be looking for indications of how Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, the new king, intends to wield power in the world's largest exporter of petroleum. The price of oil was up by about 2%.

2. Keep pumping: Fahad Nazer, a former political analyst at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., said he did not anticipate any "dramatic changes in its oil policy in the short term."

"I think that given the dramatic drop in oil prices, the Saudis might be taking a closer look at their options but if a change is made, it will likely be a function of economics, not because of the change in leadership," he said.

3. QE bonanza: European markets were higher in early trading, while Asian markets ended the week on a positive note, as investors continued to cheer Thursday's news that the European Central Bank will launch a $1.3 trillion bond buying program in March. The euro continued to plunge, falling to $1.13, and yields on eurozone government bonds dropped.

U.S. stock futures were little changed.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 260 points Thursday, while the S&P 500 rose 1.5% and the Nasdaq closed 1.8% higher.

4. Earnings and companies: General Electric (GE) and Honeywell (HON) will report earnings before the opening bell.

Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa is in talks to pay up to £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion) for mobile operator O2, a deal that would further consolidate the U.K. wireless industry.

Sony (SNE) said it was postponing the release of fiscal third quarter results because of the cyberattack it suffered last year.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/