Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly lower Wall Street open Thursday ahead of Friday's all-important monthly jobs report.

European stocks were rising slightly while Asian shares finished mixed despite signs of strengthening Chinese manufacturing. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2% to close at 8,946.9.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes the ADP employment report at 8:15 a.m. EDT and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. In addition, ISM manufacturing data is due at 10 a.m., as is the Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Index.

U.S. stocks finished mixed Wednesday in the first full day of trading since Hurricane Sandy forced a historic two-day shutdown of major U.S. markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 11 points, or 0.08%, to close at 13,096 on its first day of trading since Oct. 26.

The S&P 500 added less than 1 point, or 0.02%, to 1412. The Nasdaq dipped 11 points, or 0.36%, to finish at 2977.

Exxon Mobil ( XOM), the oil giant, is expected by analysts Thursday to report third-quarter earnings of $1.96 a share on revenue of $112.4 billion.

Rival Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) said Thursday that third-quarter core earnings declined 15% as oil and gas prices fell.

Drugmaker Pfizer ( PFE) is expected by analysts to post quarterly earnings Thursday of 53 cents a share on revenue of $14.64 billion.

Sirius XM ( SIRI) is expected by analysts Thursday to post third-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share, the same as a year earlier.

Reports are also expected from AIG ( AIG), Kellogg ( K) and Starbucks ( SBUX).

U.S. retailers are expected to report October sales on Thursday. Costco ( COST) said Thursday that same-store sales during the month rose 7%, higher than analysts' estimates.

Automakers , including Ford and General Motors, will be posting monthly sales on Thursday.

Both companies beat analysts' earnings estimates earlier this week, reflecting the strong U.S. auto market, and they unveiled aggressive plans to restructure in Europe.

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