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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly higher open for Wall Street on Thursday, following sharp losses in the previous trading session and after Spain received a debt downgrade.

European stocks were moving higher while Asian shares finished Thursday with losses. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.6% to finish at 8,546.78.

Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's debt late Wednesday two notches to BBB-, the lowest investment-grade level, and maintained a negative outlook on the country. S&P cited the country's recession, high unemployment and social unrest, as reasons for the downgrade.


The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, trade balance data for August at 8:30 a.m., export and import prices for September at 8:30 a.m., and weekly crude inventories at 11 a.m.


U.S. stocks on Wednesday finished sharply lower as the early results for third-quarter reporting season exacerbated investor worries about a slowing global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 129 points, or 0.95%, to close at 13,345, its lowest finish since Sept. 12, the day before the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing.


Vice President Joe Biden and GOP challenger Paul Ryan take part in the vice presidential debate Thursday night in Danville, Ky.


JPMorgan Chase's ( JPM) chief financial officer, Douglas Braunstein, is expected to step down over the next two quarters and is likely to move into a different job at the bank, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the company.


Alaska Air ( ALK) is expected to announce Thursday an order for 50 Boeing ( BA) single-aisle jetliners, two people familiar with the matter told the Journal.


Chinese PC maker Lenovo outsold Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) for the first time to become the world's largest seller of PCs, according to research firm Gartner.

Ruby Tuesday ( RT), the restaurant operator, reported an in-line profit for its fiscal first quarter on Wednesday but gave an outlook that hints at some downside to Wall Street expectations for the full year.

The company said it sees earnings excluding items of 24 cents to 34 cents a share for its fiscal year ending in May with same-restaurant sales projected between flat and up 2%.

Analysts are calling for earnings of 28 cents a share.


Safeway ( SWY) is expected by analysts Thursday to post a third quarter profit of 42 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $10.24 billion.


Other companies slated to report on Thursday include Emmis Communications ( EMMS), J.B. Hunt Transport Services ( JBHT), Fastenal ( FAST), Sycamore Networks ( SCMR), Winnebago Industries ( WGO) and Zep ( ZEP).


-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel

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Copyright 2012 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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