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Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were signaling a flat open for Wall Street on Thursday after stocks suffered one of their worst days of 2012 amid fiscal cliff concerns.

However, the Greek Parliament's backing of another round of austerity measures has given a lift to European stocks early Thursday.

Both the European Central Bank and Bank of England hold meetings Thursday at which they're expected to hold interest rates steady. ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to hold a new conference at 8:30 a.m. EST.

Asian shares followed their U.S. counterparts lower on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 1.5% to close at 8,837.15.


The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., and trade balance data for September, also at 8:30 a.m.


U.S. stocks on Wednesday plunged as worries about the fiscal cliff rattled investors in the wake of Tuesday's re-election of President Barack Obama, the Republicans maintained control of the House and the Democrats kept the upper hand in the Senate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 313 points, or 2.36%, to close at 12,933. It was the blue-chip index's first close below 13,000 since Aug. 2.

The lack of a shift in the political landscape raised fears that it will be difficult to get Democrats and Republicans to cooperate and act decisively to address the looming expiration of certain tax cuts and other legislative measures.


Walt Disney (DIS) is slated to report its fiscal fourth-quarter results after Thursday's closing bell and analysts are calling for earnings of 68 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $10.92 billion.


Groupon (GRPN), the online deals company, is forecast by analysts Thursday to post a profit of 3 cents a share in the third quarter on revenue of $590.1 million.


Other companies expected to report Thursday include Advance Auto Parts (AAP), Apollo Investment Group (AINV), Dean Foods (DF), FirstEnergy (FE), Flowers Foods (FLO), Kohl's Corp. (KSS), Lifetime Brands (LCUT), Monster Worldwide (MWW), Petrohawk Energy (HK), Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), Tim Hortons (THI), and Wendy's International (WEN).

Corporations expected to issue results after Thursday's closing bell include Allscripts Healthcare (MDRX), American Apparel (APP), Career Education Corp. (CECO), Caribou Coffee (CBOU), Kayak Software (KYAK), Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF), Microchip Technology (MCHP), Nordstrom (JWN), NVIDIA (NVDA), and Zipcar (ZIP).


Qualcomm (QCOM), the chipmaker, easily beat Wall Street's consensus profit view on Wednesday and forecast non-GAAP earnings of $1.08 to $1.16 a share on revenue ranging from $5.6 billion to $6.1 billion for its fiscal first quarter.


Activision Blizzard (ATVI) on Wednesday topped Wall Street's profit view on the strength of its latest "World of Warcraft" release, "The Mists of Pandaria" and its "Skylanders" franchise.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Copyright 2012 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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