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Jan. 9 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Jan. 9: 

1.-- U.S. stock futures were trading slightly lower Thursday, following Asian shares to the downside on worries the Federal Reserve will move more quickly than expected to wind down stimulus for the U.S. economy.

European shares were flat early Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index declined 1.5%.

2.-- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST.

3.-- U.S. stocks on Wednesday stumbled as minutes of the most recent Fed meeting revealed vigorous debate before policymakers decided to cut stimulus, adding to speculation that the central bank will continue to reduce the bond-buying that has helped to underwrite equities for the past 18 months.

The S&P 500 closed little changed at 1,837.49, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.41% to finish at 16,462.74. The Nasdaq added 0.3% to 4,165.61.

4.-- Dish Network (DISH - Get Report) is officially pulling its bid for LightSquared, the bankrupt telecommunications company, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Dish had coveted LightSquared's wireless spectrum.

Dish, the satellite TV provider, offered $2.2 billion for LightSquared last year. Dish is expected to announce the termination of the offer as early as Thursday.

5.-- Executives from Apple (AAPL) and Samsung agreed to meet to discuss settling a bitter two-year legal battle over designs and technologies of smartphones and tablets.

Must Read: Jan. 8 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

A filing with the U.S. District court in San Jose showed Thursday that senior legal executives from Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this week that the CEOs will meet by or before Feb. 19, The Associated Press reported.

The agreement was made in response to a court order to submit a proposal for settlement discussions before a new trial begins in March. The March trial involves more recent mobile devices than previous cases.

Many industry watchers predict the two companies will ultimately settle their patent lawsuits outside court, the AP reported.

6.-- IBM's (IBM) Watson supercomputer, which made a headline-grabbing debut on Jeopardy in 2011, will spearhead the tech giant's latest efforts to tap cloud and big data dollars. 

The Armonk, N.Y., company is setting up a New York City-based business unit devoted to Watson. Based at 51 Astor Place in New York's "Silicon Alley" tech hub, the Watson Group will focus on cloud-based innovation and also will help customers cope with the challenge of big data, which refers to the management of vast quantities of unstructured data, or information that is outside the realm of traditional databases.

7.-- Alcoa (AA), the aluminum maker that unofficially kicks off earnings season, is expected by Wall Street on Thursday to report fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share on revenue of $5.34 billion. 

8.-- Macy's (M) announced Wednesday it plans to cut 2,500 jobs, shut down five underperforming stores and open eight others.

The retailer said it will reassign or transfer some employees as it reorganizes to maintain profitability. It will keep its work force level at about 175,000 workers.

Macy's said the moves will save it $100 million a year; it also forecast 2014 profit above Wall Street's forecasts.

Separately, Macy's said same-store sales in November and December rose 3.6%, Same-store sales climbed 4.6% when including third parties.

9.-- Asset manager BlackRock (BLK) agreed to end its analyst survey program as part of a settlement reached Wednesday with the New York Attorney General's office.

The agreement stems from an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into the early release of Wall Street analyst sentiment.

BlackRock agreed to pay $400,000 for the cost of the investigation, but no fine or penalty, and to cooperate in any investigation related to the probe, Reuters reported.

10.-- BlackBerry (BBRY) CEO John Chen is betting the future of the company's device business on smartphones with keyboards, Re/code reported.

"You are going to see us center more and more on the 'qwerty' keyboard," Chen told Re/code in an interview Wednesday.

Chen told Re/code that the main market for BlackBerry is as a tool for businesses, particularly those in heavily regulated markets such as the financial industry. BlackBerry isn't going to win by competing for the latest games and apps, but instead needs to focus on being the best at getting work done, Chen said.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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

To submit a news tip, send an email

Follow @josephwoe58

Copyright 2014 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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