The first-quarter 2017 earnings season is well underway now, with $240 billion market capitalization Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) and household U.S. name Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), each reporting financial results before the start of regular trading this morning. S&P 500 futures were flat and the U.S. dollar was 0.3 percent lower versus the euro. Gold was down $3.20 to $1,212.40. Oil was $0.22 higher at $52.97.

BABA stock was higher, by more than 5 percent, on the pre-market tape after quarterly Alibaba earnings, on a per share basis, of $1 were announced, missing the Wall Street analyst consensus of $1.13, as reported by Yahoo Finance, by $0.13, or 11.5 percent.

Year over year, Alibaba earnings were down 84.5 were percent, from $6.43 in the December 2015 quarter. The specialty retailer and wholesaler reported revenue of $7.67 billion, exceeding the street consensus of $7.32 billion, by $350 million, or 4.8 percent. Revenue was down 77.8 percent, from $34.54 billion, year over year.

Alibaba earnings conference call scheduled for 7:30 a.m.

Management with the employer of 46,689 has scheduled a conference call to discuss this morning's Alibaba earnings with investors and the analyst community. The call begins at 7:30 a.m. ET and may be accessed in the United States by calling 1-845-675-0437 and entering "Conference ID: 48066090." Alibaba reported 450 million active mobile users monthly at the end of September 2016.

"We are driving the age of ‘New Retail,’ which leverages big data and innovation to provide a seamless online and offline experience for nearly half a billion mobile monthly active users," Daniel Zhang, the chief executive officer of Alibaba, said in a statement released by the firm. He described the December quarter results as "robust."

JNJ stock lower on earnings beat

JNJ stock is trading lower in the pre-market session on fourth-quarter Johnson & Johnson earnings.

The drug manufacturer and healthcare firm reported EPS of $1.58, beating the view on the street of $1.56, by $0.02, or 1.3 percent. JNJ EPS was up 9.7 percent, year over year, from $1.44 in the fourth quarter of 2015. Revenue for the over-130-year-old firm came in at $18.1 billion, missing the consensus analyst estimate of $18.28 billion, by $180 million, or 1.0 percent.

JNJ revenue was higher, by 1.6 percent, from $17.81 billion, on a year-over-year basis.

JNJ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky and his management team will take questions from analysts an investors at a webcast conference call scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET. The call may be listened to at the "webcasts & presentations" section of the Johnson & Johnson investor relations website. In a statement released by the company, Mr. Gorsky stated "We are pleased to report that we accelerated our adjusted growth for 2016 over the prior year, and delivered a strong total shareholder return of greater than 15 percent."

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