2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes initial jobless claims for the week ended April 20 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday finished mixed. The S&P 500 closed unchanged at 1,578.79. The index has gained 11% this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 14,676.30, while the Nasdaq added 0.01% to 3,269.65.
4. -- Verizon Communications ( VZ) hired advisers to prepare a possible cash and stock bid of $100 billion to take full control of Verizon Wireless from joint venture partner Vodafone ( VOD), two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Verizon owns 55% of Verizon Wireless. It has yet to put forward a proposal to Vodafone but it has hired both banking and legal advisers for a possible bid, the sources said. Verizon hopes to start discussions with Vodafone soon for a friendly deal but could take a bid public if Vodafone doesn't engage in talks, one of the sources told Reuters.
5. -- Analysts expect oil giant Exxon Mobil ( XOM) on Thursday to post first-quarter profit of $2.05 a share on revenue of $119.83 billion. In last year's first quarter, Exxon, the world's most valuable company, earned $9.45 billion, or $2 a share, on revenue of $124 billion.
6. -- Dow Chemical ( DOW) on Thursday said first-quarter earnings rose 33% from a year earlier to $550 million, or 46 cents a share. Adjusted earnings in the quarter were 69 cents a share. Net sales in the quarter fell to $14.4 billion from $14.7 billion a year earlier.
7. -- Amazon.com ( AMZN), the online retailer, is expected by Wall Street on Thursday to post first-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $16.14 billion. For the same quarter last year, the company earned 28 cents a share on revenue of $13.2 billion. Amazon's report is scheduled for after the markets close on Thursday.
8. -- Starbucks ( SBUX) is forecast to report after Thursday's closing bell fiscal second-quarter earnings of 48 cents a share on sales of $3.59 billion.