2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and new-home sales for April at 10 a.m.
3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday closed lower, erased morning gains after the Federal Reserve's minutes from its latest policy-making meeting showed that some members are open to scaling back monetary stimulus by June.
4. -- Japanese stocks plummeted Thursday amid a spike in government bond yields and unexpectedly weak Chinese manufacturing. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo nosedived 7.3% to close at 14,483.98, its worst drop since the 2011 tsunami. 5. -- Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) the PC and printer maker, posted earnings on Wednesday that beat Wall Street expectations. HP reported earnings of 87 cents a share in the first quarter on revenue of $27.6 billion. Analysts were looking for profit of 82 cents a share on sales of $28.36 billion. For the third quarter, HP expects it will earn on a non-GAAP basis between 84 cents and 87 cents a share. For the full year, the company expects non-GAAP earnings of between $3.50 and $3.60 a share.
6. -- Wall Street expects Sears ( SHLD) to post a first-quarter loss of 60 cents a share on sales of $8.37 billion.
7. -- Gap ( GPS) is forecast to report earnings of 69 cents a share in the first quarter on sales of $3.68 billion.
8. -- Ford ( F) said Thursday it will close its two Australian auto plants, ending production in the country in 2016, amid higher costs and falling sales. The closure of the plants will mean the loss of 1,200 jobs.
9. -- Pandora Media ( P), the Internet radio service, is expected by Wall Street on Thursday to post a first-quarter loss of 10 cents a share.