Updated from 6:46 a.m. EDT
Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, May 1:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising slightly early Thursday, while stocks in London were higher as most of Europe took off for the May Day holiday.
Asian shares ended the session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose. 1.3%.
2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, personal income and personal spending for March at 8:30 a.m., the ISM Index for April at 10 a.m., and construction spending for March at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday closed higher after the Federal Reserve pledged to hold rates for a considerable time after it ends its economic stimulus program, offsetting weaker-than-expected economic growth data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.27% to 16,580.84 -- a record high closing -- while the S&P 500 increased 0.3% to 1,883.95. The Nasdaq climbed 0.27% to finish at 4,114.56.
A combination of AT&T with satellite-TV company DirecTV would create a pay television giant close in size to where Comcast (CMCSA) will be if it completes its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), the Journal noted.
A deal would likely be worth at least $40 billion, DirecTV's current market capitalization, a fraction of AT&T's $185 billion market capitalization, according to the newspaper.
AT&T declined to comment for the Journal, as did DirecTV.
AT& shares fell 1% in premarket trading to $35.33. DirecTV shares rose 7.3% to $83.25.
5. -- Sprint (S) is in the process of raising financing for a takeover bid of competitor T-Mobile (TMUS) as the company works to press a merger of the nation's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Sprint has met with half a dozen banks about securing debt financing for the bid, which may be disclosed in June or July.
A merger attempt between Sprint and T-Mobile would be the riskiest attempt at wireless consolidation since AT&T failed to buy T-Mobile in 2011. That deal was blocked by the Department of Justice, which continues to believe that a competitive wireless industry would have four nationwide players.
Sprint shares rose 5.8% in premarket trading to $8.99, while T-Mobile shares rose 7.4% to $31.45.
7. -- Automakers, including General Motors (GM) and Ford (F), are expected to report sales for April throughout the day.
Sales of new cars and trucks are expected to increase 8.5% to nearly 1.4 million in April, which would make it the best April for the industry since 2005, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Meanwhile, a new report said taxpayers lost $11.2 billion on the government's bailout of GM.
The estimate comes from a quarterly report Wednesday to Congress by a government watchdog that oversees the bailout, and is up from a previous estimate of $10.5 billion.
8. -- Sony (SNE) said Thursday it will reported a wider-than-expected fiscal-year loss, a result of extra costs from the exit of its PC business.
Sony estimated it would report a loss of 130 billion yen for the year ended in March, wider than the forecast for a loss of 110 billion yen that it made in February. In October, the consumer electronics giant forecast profit for the year would be 30 billion yen.
Sony fell 4.2% to $16.90.
9. -- MasterCard (MA) reported first-quarter earnings of $870 million, or 73 cents a share, up from year-earlier earnings of $766 million, or 62 cents. Analysts expected earnings of 72 cents a share from the credit card company.
The stock fell 0.2% in premarket trading on Thursday.
10. -- Yelp (YELP), the local business review site, narrowed losses in the first quarter as more local businesses signed up for the online review site's services.
The results were better than expected and the company raised its revenue guidance for the year.
Yelp shares rose 10% in premarket trading to $64.14.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel