Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a flat open for Wall Street Thursday after President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone but failed to make progress in averting the so-called fiscal cliff for the U.S. economy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNBC the White House was "absolutely" ready to go over the cliff if tax rates on the wealthiest Americans don't rise.

European stocks were rising ahead of Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank, which is expected to hold interest rates steady. Asian shares ended Thursday's session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8%.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EST.

U.S. stocks on Wednesday finished mixed after President Barack Obama spoke to top business leaders and made a YouTube push to pass his budget proposal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, while a big drop in Apple ( AAPL)shares dragged down the Nasdaq.

Shares of Apple declined 6.4% to $538.79 on Wednesday on reports of a margin hike at one clearing firm and concerns over component supplies falling next year. It was Apple's biggest single-day loss in four years.

Apple shares are also nearing a "death cross," when a stock's 50-day moving average cuts below the 200-day moving average.

Broadcom ( BRCM) lifted its outlook for fourth-quarter revenue on Wednesday to $2 billion to $2.1 billion, from its previous range of $1.95 billion to $2.1 billion.

The chipmaker cited better-than-expected results in its wireless division.

Earnings reports are expected Thursday from Lululemon Athletica ( LULU), Smithfield Foods ( SFD) and H & R Block ( HRB).

Research In Motion ( RIMM) announced Thursday a program for its enterprise clients which allows them to transition to the BlackBerry 10 platform, which will be launched soon.

Software guru John McAfee was arrested Wednesday in Guatemala for illegally entering the country, which said it would seek to expel him to neighboring Belize, which he fled after being sought for questioning over his neighbor's murder, Reuters reported.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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