2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, retail sales for May at 8:30 a.m., export and import prices for May at 8:30 a.m., and business inventories for April at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday sank as uncertainty over the direction of global stimulus programs put a brake on sentiment that the U.S. recovery may be strengthening. The S&P 500 fell 0.84% to close at 1,612.52. The index posted its third-consecutive daily decline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also lost 0.84% and slipped below 15,000 at 14,995.23, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq declined 1.06% to 3,400.43.
4. -- Japan's Nikkei 225 index declined more than 6% on Thursday, falling into bear market territory. The index fell 6.4% to close at 12,445.38, on worries over a surging yen and concerns about the Federal Reserve's monetary policy.
5. -- The World Bank on Thursday forecast global growth in 2013 of 2.2%, down from its outlook in January of 2.4% growth. In cutting its forecast, the World Bank cited a deeper-than-expected recession in Europe and slowdowns in China and India.
6. -- Safeway (SWY) said Wednesday it plans to sell its Canadian supermarket operations to Sobeys, the No. 2 grocery store operator in Canada, for $5.7 billion. Safeway will have about 1,400 stores in the U.S. after the deal.
7. -- IBM (IBM - Get Report) began cutting U.S. jobs Wednesday as part of a global restructuring plan announced in April, a person familiar with the move told Bloomberg. The job cuts target employees with a range of seniority, from rank-and-file staff to executives, the person told Bloomberg. The restructuring will cost $1 billion worldwide, including severance expenses.
8. -- Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS - Get Report) said Wednesday that Stephen Hester will step down as CEO later this year. The bank is 81%-owned by the U.K. government following a bailout in 2008. Hester was pressured to resign by the bank's board, which wants a new leader in place as RBS prepares to return to the private sector.