The strong US dollar was a major concern heading into the fourth quarter earnings season and that was precisely the reason given by Google for missing earnings estimates overnight and is contributing towards a lower open on Friday and could lead to a loss for major indices in January. Friday sees another flurry of earnings releases including from oil giant Chevron which will be widely watched given the dramatic fall in oil prices in the past few months. Google reported income and revenue growth below expectations for the fourth quarter thanks to the stronger dollar and falling prices for its online advertisements. Google is making progress in diversifying its revenue stream across multiple platforms with YouTube and Google Play now big contributors to revenue. The less reliance Google has on its core search business, the less exposed it is to falling online advertisement prices especially as overall online advertising expenditure is increasing. Should exchange rates stabilise, Google maybe set to return to form in the first quarter. Amazon tipped the scales in its latest earnings report when earnings per share almost tripled estimates but revenues slightly missed. Shares are expected to open higher since the report addressed Amazon’s problem from the last few quarters of eating too far into its profits with expenses in order to fund expansion. Amazon forecasted revenues for the first quarter of 2015 slightly below previous estimates but the company is expanding so quickly shareholders will happy to give up some revenue if it means lower costs and higher profits Visa beat earnings estimates on the top and bottom line and announced a 4-1 stock split. Chevron reports earnings before the open on Friday and is expected to announce a large fall-off in profits and revenues from the year ago period thanks to the sharp drop in oil prices. Investors will be looking to see how Chevron will change strategy to mitigate falling oil prices, namely capex cuts in future exploration projects and any refocus on its LNG business. As an integrated oil major, Chevron is less exposed to falling oil prices than most energy companies and that is reflected in its share price which has outperformed the price of oil. Shares stabilised in mid-December above $100, however disappointment today could see prices break that key psychological level and perhaps target $87, the lows seen in October 2011. MasterCard, Eli Lilly, Xerox, Mattel, AbbVie and Tyson Foods all report earnings on Friday. Futures suggest the: S&P 500 will open 14 points lower at 2,007 with the Dow Jones expected to open 63 points lower at 17,353 and the Nasdaq 7 points lower at 4,174.