NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks on Wall Street look set to open flat Thursday, while European shares were mixed after mining giant Xstrata confirmed it's in merger talks with commodities trader Glencore. Asian stocks climbed. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to close at 8,876.82, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 2%. In the U.S. on Wednesday, stocks finished higher after strong manufacturing reports from the U.S., Europe and Asia boosted optimism. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 83.3 points, or 0.7%, to 12,716. The S&P 500 climbed 11.7 points, or 0.9%, to 1,324. The Nasdaq rose 34.4 points, or 1.2%, to settle at 2,848.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday features Challenger Gray's release on corporate layoffs at 7:30 a.m. EST, weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., and the preliminary productivity index and unit labor costs data for the fourth quarter at 8:30 a.m.
Facebook filed to go public on Wednesday with the social networking giant seeking to raise $5 billion in what would be the largest-ever tech IPO. The 202-page S-1 filing reveals that Morgan Stanley ( MS) will be the lead underwriter for the Facebook IPO, with Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Allen & Co. all involved.
Mining company Xstrata confirmed Thursday that it is in merger discussions with commodities trader Glencore International, a deal that would create an industry behemoth with around $175 billion worth of revenue.
Earnings reports are scheduled Thursday from Merck ( MRK), Dow Chemical ( DOW) and MasterCard ( MA).
Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A), the European oil major, on Thursday posted a modest drop in fourth-quarter profit because of weaker refining operations. Shell said net profit fell 4.3% to $6.5 billion. Shell's production arm was helped by higher oil prices. But Europe's largest oil company said its refining arm swung to a loss.
Germany's Deutsche Bank ( DB) said fourth-quarter profit fell 69% to €186 million ($245.06 million), hurt by the eurozone debt crisis. The bank lost €351 million on a pretax basis.