The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business outlook survey, out at 10 a.m. as well, is expected to show an improvement to minus 3 for December from minus 10.7 in November.
Simultaneously, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index is predicted to have declined to minus 0.2% in November after increasing 0.2% in October.
Also out at 10 a.m. is the Federal Housing Finance Agency's housing price index for October.
The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.06% and the DAX in Germany was lower by 0.03% after major European indices soared to fresh 2012 highs the prior session.The Asian markets finished mixed as the amount by which the Bank of Japan expanded its asset-buying program fell short of some investors' expectations. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up by 0.16% and Japan's Nikkei average finished off 1.19% Thursday. Gold for February delivery was up 50 cents at $1,668.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil contracts were down 10 cents at $89.88 a barrel. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 9/32, diluting the yield to 1.775%. The dollar was off 0.06%, according to the U.S. dollar index. In corporate news, NYSE Euronext (NYX), the operator of the New York Stock Exchange, announced that it has agreed to be bought by rival IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) for $33.12 a share in stock and cash, or a total of about $8.2 billion. IntercontinentalExchange shares were tumbling more than 4% in premarket trading Thursday while NYSE Euronext shares were not yet active. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) on Wednesday issued forecasts for the fourth quarter and fiscal year that were below analysts' views. Shares were shedding 5%. Jabil Circuit (JBL) posted fiscal first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that topped Wall Street estimates. Shares were jumping more than 4.5%. An experimental therapy from Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) failed to improve kidney response in Fabry disease patients compared to placebo in a late-stage study, the companies disclosed late Wednesday. Amicus shares were plunging by more than 43.5%. ConAgra Foods (CAG) posted second-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share on revenue of $3.74 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of 55 cents a share on revenue of $3.69 billion, on robust sales from its consumer foods business.
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