August 14 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Aug. 14:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were edging slightly up going into Thursday's trading session, contradicting a soft European market and disappointing retail sales announced Wednesday.

European stocks showed moderate losses in the face of GDP stagnation and possible deflation.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes reports on initial jobless claims from the Department of Labor at 8:30 a.m. and figures on imports and exports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also at 8:30 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday ignored geopolitics for a day and turned instead to global growth prospects, stoking confidence that the bull market is here to stay even without the support of the Fed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) closed up 0.55% to 16,651.80. The S&P 500 (SPY) rose 0.67% to 1,946.72. The Nasdaq (QQQ) closed up 1.02% to 4,434.13.

4. -- Cisco Systems (CSCO), the networking hardware company, will cut 6,000 jobs due to uncertainty over emerging markets. Cisco has aggressively cut jobs before: 11,000 were fired in 2011, 1,200 in 2012, and 4,000 in 2013.

Revenue was flat over the fourth quarter, at $12.4 billion, and earnings per share were 43 cents on a GAAP basis, and 55 cents on a non-GAAP basis, Cisco announced.

Shares were down 1.15% in premarket trading to $24.91. Overall, the stock is up 12.4% year to date. 

5. -- Flight attendants for Virgin Atlantic, the last nonunion airline in the U.S., have voted to join the Transportation Workers Union. Virgin Atlantic announced that it had filed for an IPO a month ago. 58% of flight attendants voted to unionize.

On Tuesday the airline reported a $37 million profit for the quarter, up from a loss of $22 million in the prior quarter. 

6. -- Burger King (BKW) announced lower-calorie French fries last year to much fanfare, but less than a year later the "Satisfries" are being pulled from most menus in its 7,371 North American stores. Satisfries clock in at 270 calories a small box, compared to 340 calories in a standard-issue small order of French fries. 100 million people have ordered the healthier fries, but sales didn't live up to the hype.

The failure of the healthier fries highlights the quandary of fast food companies like Burger King, McDonald's (MCD) and Yum! Brands (YUM), which are criticized for unhealthy offerings, yet find sales for healthier food to be disappointing.

Burger King shares were flat before the market open. Meanwhile McDonald's shares were up 0.2% to $94.15.

7. -- Demand for physical gold (securitized as SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)) was down substantially for the second quarter -- off 16% from a year ago. Gold's price dropped 25% between April and June of 2013, causing a jump in demand which has now abated. Jewelry demand also dropped by nearly one-third this quarter, further weakening gold prices.

The supply of gold from mines also grew by more than 58 tons compared to the first half of 2013. The price for an ounce of gold was at $1,314.20 Thursday morning. 

8. -- Retail sales were disappointing yesterday, as reported by the Commerce Department. Some see this as a bad sign for the third quarter. Shares in retail companies like Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP) have been on a roller coaster due to uncertainty over the state of the economic recovery.

In premarket trading, J.C. Penney was up 0.32% to $9.38, although the stock has lost 27.4% of its value in the past 52 weeks. Macy's was up 0.25% in premarket trading to $56.61. The shares are up 16.4% over a year ago. 

9. -- Barclays (BCS) may face up to $2 billion more in fines and legal costs this year, said a research note from an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. The costs stem from the New York Attorney General's inquiry into the company's private stock market, known as a "dark pool," as well as from potential fines for currency manipulation.

Barclays first settled with regulators in 2012 and paid a $450 million fine for manipulating interest rates. Shares of the company's ADR were at $14.67 going into Thursday's trading session. 

10. -- The eurozone showed no growth in the second quarter, suggesting that the economic recovery has stalled there. The Ukraine crisis may be discouraging companies to spend and invest, said economists. The German GDP fell by 0.2% in the second quarter, and the French economy did not grow either. 

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Nora Morrison is an editor, writer and researcher on music, popular culture and business. She is an associate editor at TheStreet, and is on Twitter at No Ticker.

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