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China’s growth slows and Google’s space deal — 5 things to know today

January 20, 2015, 1:03 PM UTC
Courtesy of SpaceX

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Welcome back from the long weekend. Wall Street futures are up this morning, and European shares are doing well. Asian indexes were also up, closing the day with big gains.

Earnings season kicks into high gear today, with reports from Morgan Stanley, Dow stocks Johnson & Johnson and IBM, and also Netflix. Also, burger chain Shake Shack has unveiled a pricing range for its planned IPO. (If you love reading about food, check out this story by Fortune’s Beth Kowitt, on New York City restaurant chain Dig Inn, which has just raised $15 million.)

Here’s what else you need to know about today.

1. The State of the Union.

President Obama will address the nation tonight and reveal a slate of reforms that will target “unfair” tax loopholes and reduce the financial burden facing middle class families. He will call on Congress to raise taxes and fees on the wealthiest to finance tax breaks for low- and middle-income households. The speech follows a spat of announcements from the president as he toured across the U.S., including a new initiative to provide free community college and endorsing paid sick leave.

2. Earnings flood in.

As earnings season kicks into high gear, a host of companies are set to report today. Morgan Stanley (MS) led the way this morning, with earnings that were up significantly compared to a year earlier as the bank’s legal costs dropped. Revenues rose to $920 million, or 47 cents a share, from $36 million, or 2 cents a share, a year earlier.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Delta (DAL) and Coach (COH) all report quarterly earnings this morning, as well.

Netflix (NFLX) will report after the market close, and investors will be watching to see how the company is doing with its overseas progress. IBM (IBM) is also set to report after the closing bell.
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3. Google may be readying a big investment in SpaceX.

Google (GOOG) is on the verge of investing $1 billion in Elon Musk’s space company, which would help the search giant build its efforts to deliver Internet access via satellites, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investment would value SpaceX at more than $10 billion. Google is hoping to expand Internet access to even the most remote areas of the world, thus providing even more users for its services.

4. China growth slows.

China’s economy grew at 7.4% last year, falling short of the government’s projected 7.5% growth rate. That’s the slowest growth China has seen in 24 years. The sluggish economy is partially due to shrinking exports and a struggling property market. Notably, Chinese policy makers reported numbers that were below projections, which hasn’t happened since 1998. Officials have been widely criticized for tweaking numbers to align with target estimates.

5. Senate debates Keystone XL.

On Capital Hill, the debate over approval of the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline continues in the Senate and is expected to be a weeks-long battle. Senate Republicans are pushing for its passage, and voting on amendments could begin as soon as this afternoon. There are currently three amendments in line for voting: Sen. Ed Markey’s export ban on oil shipped through the Keystone; Sen. Rob Portman’s energy efficiency package and Sen. Al Franken’s requirement that the pipeline be made using U.S. steel.