Updated to reflect market declines in Europe
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday features weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, the Federal Housing Finance Agency housing price index for December at 10 a.m., and weekly crude inventories data at 11 a.m. Economists calls for initial jobless claims to come in at 355,000, according to Briefing.com.
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report), the PC and printer maker, said first-quarter adjusted earnings topped analysts' estimates but its outlook for the current quarter came in short of Wall Street expectations. HP said it expects earnings of 88 cents to 91 cents per share for the quarter ending in April, below the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 95 cents.
Target (TGT - Get Report) is expected by analysts Thursday to report fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $1.40 a share on revenue of $21.21 billion. Other retailers reporting earnings Thursday include Sears (SHLD), Gap (GPS) and Kohl's (KSS).
Apple (AAPL - Get Report) holds its shareholders' meeting Thursday at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The iPhone and iPad maker may have to address what it plans to do with its cash pile of nearly $98 billion.
Mitt Romney put in a strong debate performance in Arizona on Wednesday evening, hitting often at Rick Santorum for supporting big-spending government programs.