2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, existing home sales for August at 10 a.m., the Philly Fed survey for September at 10 a.m. and leading indicators for August at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday posted sharp gains following the Fed's statement that the U.S. economy wasn't ready for a tapering of the central bank's unprecedented efforts at maintaining lenient monetary policies. The Fed said that it will continue to buy $85 billion in bonds per month until there's stronger evidence of economic improvement. The S&P 500 gained 1.22% to reach a new all-time high of 1,725.52 and booked a fourth straight day of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.95% to close at 15,676.94. The Nasdaq gained 1.01% to finish at 3,783.64.
4. -- Regulators in the U.S. and U.K. are expected to fine JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) more than $900 million for actions tied to its 2012 "London Whale" trading debacle, according to a person familiar with the settlement talks, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve and the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority are expected to charge the bank with poor controls surrounding the giant bet, which cost JPMorgan more than $6 billion, the Journal said. The announcement of the settlements is expected to come early Thursday, according to people briefed on the plans.
5. -- Software maker Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) said fiscal first-quarter net income rose by 8%. Adjusted earnings for the quarter of 59 cents a share topped Wall Street estimates of 56 cents. Revenue rose 2% to $8.37 billion; analysts were looking for revenue of $8.48 billion. Software revenue rose 6% to $6.08 billion and included a 5% increase in new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions to $1.65 billion.
6. -- McDonald's (MCD - Get Report), the world's largest hamburger chain, raised its quarterly dividend by 5% to 81 cents a share from 77 cents. The fourth-quarter payout will be more than $800 million. The next dividend is payable Dec. 16 to shareholders of record at Dec. 2. Shares of McDonald's rose 78 cents on Wednesday to $98.70.
7. -- Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) is cutting about 1,800 more jobs in its home-loan production business, according to Bloomberg. The reductions are in addition to 3,000 earlier this quarter, said Tom Goyda, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank, in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday. Wells Fargo is cutting jobs as higher borrowing costs slow refinancings and new home purchases fail to compensate for the decline, Bloomberg noted.