NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Dec. 18:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Thursday and European stocks gained after the Federal Reserve said it would remain "patient" in its approach to raising interest rates.

Asian stocks finished Thursday's session mostly higher. Japan's Nikkei rose 2.3%.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, the Philadelphia Fed Index for December at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for November at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday rose as investors rejoiced the news that Chair Janet Yellen and her Fed colleagues didn't drastically change their conservative tone. The Fed said that a hike in rates earlier than the next couple of months was unlikely.

Gaining momentum into the close, the S&P 500 jumped 2% to close at 2,012.89 while the Nasdaq gained 2.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average enjoyed its best day of the year, climbing 288 points, up 1.7%.

4. -- Sony Pictures canceled the Christmas Day release of The Interview after hackers threatened terrorists attacks and the largest multiplex chains in North America pulled the film.

"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film 'The Interview,' we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release," Sony said in a statement sent to reporters. "We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers."

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea was behind the recent cyber attacks on Sony(SNE) - Get Report , including the most recent threats.

Officials are still gathering evidence and are trying to build a clearer picture of who directed the hacking and how, according to people familiar with the investigation, but the focus on North Korea elevates the issue from a question of corporate security to national security, The Wall Street Journal reported.

5. -- Evan Spiegel, the CEO and co-founder of Snapchat, sent a memo to employees saying he was "devastated" and "I felt like I was going to cry" after details of Snapchat's business plans were leaked by the Sony hackers.

In the leaked email conversations between Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton and Snapchat executives, it was revealed that Snapchat had secretly purchased for $15 million Vergence Labs, a company that makes a Google Glass-like wearable device. The emails also revealed that Speigel was interested in setting up his own music label, and then using Snapchat to promote artists signed to it, according to the Irish Examiner.

6. -- Business software maker Oracle(ORCL) - Get Report reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 56 cents a share, or profit on an adjusted basis of 69 cents. The results beat analysts' expectations.

Oracle said revenue in the period was $9.6 billion in the period, which also topped Wall Street forecasts. 

Sales in Oracle's cloud software, platform and infrastructure businesses rose 45% from a year earlier to $516 million.

7. -- Chevron (CVX) - Get Reportsaid it suspended "indefinitely" a plan to drill for oil in Canada's Arctic waters because the fall in oil prices has created "economic uncertainty in the industry."

The drilling project is the largest yet put on hold after oil prices dropped by nearly half over the last six months, according to Reuters. The Journal said offshore-drilling costs in the Arctic are among the highest in the world due to its remote location and severe weather.

8. -- Athletic and sports apparel giant Nike(NKE) - Get Report is forecast to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $7.15 billion.

A year earlier, Nike posted earnings of 59 cents a share on sales of $6.43 billion.

9. -- Cosmetics seller Avon Products(AVP) - Get Report  will pay $135 million to settle criminal and civil charges after its China unit pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing officials there.

10. -- Wall Street expects Red Hat (RHT) - Get Report,the world's largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system,to post fiscal third-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share on revenue of $451.4 million.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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