Last time around, Nike surprised Wall Street with a rare earnings miss with the weak economic outlook in Europe and slowing growth in China seen as factors so both the bottom-line number and the commentary around this release will be closely watched. Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its buy rating and $120 price target on Nike shares on Tuesday, saying it thinks the company is doing well overall in China. "We continue to believe Nike footwear momentum remains very healthy in China, led by strength in basketball and lightweight running," the firm said. "Store checks indicate strong sell-thru of new product including the Nike Free Run +3 and Nike+ basketball. At retail, Nike's footwear inventory remains clean (primarily products that launched within the last 6 months) with no promotions. Store checks indicate a continued challenging sportswear env't in China as local brands (Li Ning & Anta) remain very promotional and there has been a fashion shift favoring 'casual' apparel (led by Uniqlo, H&M & Zara) over athletic sportswear." Other companies slated to report on Thursday include Accenture ( ACN), Actuant ( ATU), Central European Distribution ( CEDC), Discover Financial Services ( DFS), Global Payments ( GPN), Greenbrier Cos. ( GBX), IDT Corp. ( IDT), McCormick & Co. ( MCK), Micron Technology ( MU), and Sealy Corp. ( ZZ). Thursday's economic calendar includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET; durable goods orders for August at 8:30 a.m. ET; the third estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. ET; and pending home sales for August at 10 a.m. ET. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.