Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, July 17:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were falling Thursday ahead of a number of economic data points and a slew of corporate earnings reports.
European stocks fell after the U.S. and European Union levied new sanctions against Russia for its alleged interference in Ukraine.
Asian shares finished the session with mostly lower. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declined 0.1%.
2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, housing starts and building permits for June at 8:30 a.m., and the Philadelphia Fed Index for July at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday gained after the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book nudged the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record high on Wednesday. The Fed noted the economy is expanding at a modest to moderate pace with consumer spending, manufacturing and job growth increasing in all districts.
The Dow rose 0.45% to 17,138.2. The S&P 500 gained 0.42% to 1,981.57. The Nasdaq added on 0.22% to 4,425.97.
5. -- Search giant Google (GOOGL - Get Report) is forecast by Wall Street to report after Thursday's closing bell earnings of $6.24 a share on second-quarter revenue of $15.62 billion.
6. -- General Electric (GE) has stepped up efforts to find a buyer for its appliance business, one of GE's final ties to American consumers, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. In 2008, the company scrapped plans to sell the operation that makes refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines.
The appliance business is still profitable, but its low margins and significant labor costs are out of step with GE's other industrial businesses that generate years of lucrative service revenue after the sales of heavy equipment like jet engines and gas turbines, the Journal noted.
Analysts have suggested a handful of possible suitors for GE's appliance business, including China's Haier Electronics Group, GE's Mexican partner Controladora Mabe and Sweden's Electrolux, the Journal reported.
7. -- A Senate panel will pose questions to GM (GM) executives on Thursday as it looks deeper into the automaker's delayed recall of millions of small cars.
GM CEO Mary Barra will testify before the panel for the second time, where it's expected she'll be asked how she is changing a corporate culture that allowed a defect with ignition switches to remain hidden from the public for 11 years.
But senators at a hearing of the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection might also question GM General Counsel Michael Millikin as they drill down on the role the company's legal department played in the mishandled recall, The Associated Press reported.
8. -- Wall Street expects investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS) to post second-quarter profit of 55 cents a share on revenue of $8.19 billion.
PayPal continued to be the driving force for eBay, as reported PayPal net total payment revenue grew to $1.9 billion and PayPal payment volume grew 29% with Merchant Services volume up 35%. Despite a security breach of the auction and global retailer in February, eBay's PayPal gained 4 million new active registered accounts to end the quarter at 152 million, up 15%.
For the third quarter, eBay said it expects non-GAAP earnings to be between 65 cents and 67 cents a share, with sales of between $4.3 billion and $4.4 billion. Analysts expect the company to earn 70 cents a share on sales of $4.4 billion.
10. -- Microsoft (MSFT) is expected on Thursday to announce layoffs that will substantially exceed the largest layoffs in the software maker's history, The New York Times reported, citing according to several people briefed on the decision. The largest layoffs previously at the company were in 2009, when 5,800 or so people were affected, the Times reported.
Bloomberg reported earlier in the week the news of the job cuts.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel
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