5 Things You Should Know Before the Stock Market Opens

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher Wall Street open on Thursday, ahead of earnings from the likes of Bank of America ( BAC) before the bell and Microsoft ( MSFT) after the markets close.

European stocks were higher after investors bought more Spanish debt than the government had targeted.

Asian stocks finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.8% after the country posted its biggest annual trade deficit ever, according to The Associated Press.

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes the weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, existing home sales for March at 10 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed regional manufacturing index for April at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for March at 10 a.m.

Economists polled by Reuters forecast a total of 370,000 new jobless claims filings, compared with 380,000 in the prior week.


Human Genome Sciences ( HGSI) received an unsolicited buyout proposal of $13 a share in cash, or about $2.6 billion, from GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) but rejected the offer saying the bid "does not reflect the value inherent" in the company.

The GlaxoSmithKline bid represents an 81% premium to Human Genome's closing price Wednesday of $7.17.

Human Genome, in a press release Thursday, said its board has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives, "including, but not limited to, a potential sale of the company."


Bank of America is expected by analysts Thursday to post first-quarter earnings of 12 cents a share on revenue of $22.51 billion.

Microsoft, the giant software maker, is seen by analysts Thursday posting fiscal third-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share on revenue of $17.18 billion.


Nokia ( NOK), the handset maker, early Thursday posted a first-quarter loss of €929 million ($1.2 billion), hit by strong competition as revenue fell 29%.


India announced the successful test launch Thursday of a new nuclear-capable missile.

The missile would give India the ability to strike the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai for the first time, according to the AP.


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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