The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST, the consumer price index for October at 8:30 a.m., and the Empire State manufacturing survey for November at 8:30 a.m.
U.S. stocks on Wednesday were dragged lower by persistent worries over the fiscal cliff. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 185 points, or 1.45%, at 12,571. The blue-chip index, which has fallen in five of the past six sessions, is up just 2.89% year to date. The S&P 500 finished off more than 19 points, or 1.39%, at 1355, while the Nasdaq lost a little more than 37 points, or 1.29%, to settle at 2847.
BP ( BP) said Thursday it is in advanced talks with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission about settling criminal and other claims from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. A source told Reuters that BP's settlement payment would be the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history.
Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT), the world's largest retailer, is expected by analysts to report before Thursday's opening bell quarterly earnings of $1.07 a share on revenue of $115 billion. Rival Target ( TGT) also reports third-quarter results on Thursday, and analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a profit of 77 cents a share in the October-ended period on revenue of $16.92 billion.
Other companies slated to report before Thursday's open include Bon-Ton Stores ( BONT), Children's Place ( PLCE), Dollar Tree Stores ( DLTR), GameStop ( GME), Perry Ellis ( PERY), Ross Stores ( ROST), Stage Stores ( STGS), Stein Mart ( SMRT), The Buckle ( BKE), and Viacom ( VIAB). The late roster features Applied Materials ( AMAT), Aruba Networks ( ARUN), Autodesk ( ADSK), Cosi ( COSI), Dole Food ( DOLE), Gap ( GPS), Intuit ( INTU), Marvell Technology ( MRVL), New York & Co. ( NWY), Sears Holdings ( SHLD), Sina Corp. ( SINA), and The Wet Seal ( WTSLA).
Texas Instruments ( NTAP) announced Wednesday fresh restructuring plans that call for the elimination of 1,700 jobs, or roughly 5% of its work force. The company anticipates charges totaling $325 million in connection with the restructuring program. Texas Instruments is targeting annual savings of $450 million from the moves.
Honeywell ( HON) and Rockwell Collins ( COL)are set to receive major contracts to supply systems to Boeing ( BA)for its updated 737 Max jetliner, two people familiar with the decisions told The Wall Street Journal.
Australia's GrainCorp on Thursday rejected a $2.8 billion takeover bid from Archer Daniels Midland ( ADM).
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