2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, existing-home sales for February at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for February at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday closed higher as the Federal Reserve's policy-making announcement forecast a return to moderate economic growth and repeated its commitment to stimulate the economy by buying bonds and other securities. The S&P 500 rose 0.67% to 1,558.71 to end a three-day skid. The Nasdaq closed up by 0.78% to 3,254.19 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 55.91 points, or 0.39%, to 14,511.73.
4. -- The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged Wednesday as it said the labor market is showing signs of improvement and suggested that the economy is returning to moderate economic growth.
5. -- Oracle (ORCL - Get Report), the business software maker, posted fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue below analysts' estimates. Oracle reported earnings on Wednesday of 65 cents a share on revenue of $8.97 billion. New software licenses and cloud-software subscription revenue were down 2% to $2.3 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of 66 cents a share on sales of $9.38 billion. Total software revenue rose 4% to $6.67 billion, and hardware-systems revenue declined 16% to $1.24 billion. Services revenue fell 8% to $1.045 billion. "Our non-GAAP operating margin increased to a Q3 record of 47%, and we expect it to reach an all-time high for the fiscal year," said Oracle President and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz in a press release.
6. -- Blackstone Group (BX - Get Report), which is weighing an offer for PC maker Dell (DELL), is pushing to recruit Oracle President Mark Hurd to be CEO of the Round Rock, Texas, company, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the situation.