September 18 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are 10 things you should know for Thursday, Sept. 18:

1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Thursday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new record, getting a lift from the Federal Reserve after the central bank said it would keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time."

European stocks rose following the Fed statement and as a vote on Scotland's independence began early Thursday.

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claim at 8:30 a.m. EDT, housing starts and building permits for August at 8:30 a.m., and the Philadelphia Fed index for September at 10 a.m.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday rallied to record levels after the Fed eased concerns that the central bank could initiate its first rate hike before the summer.

The Dow rose 0.15% to settle at 17,156.85 after knocking out the prior session's intraday record with a fresh high of 17,221.11. The S&P 500  rose by 0.13% to 2,001.57. The Nasdaq  gained 0.21% to 4,562.19.

4. -- Shares of e-commerce giant Alibaba are expected to be priced Thursday after the stock markets close. The stock -- to list under symbol "BABA" -- will begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Alibaba is set to sell about $22 billion of shares, at anywhere from $66 to $68 apiece. It's likely Alibaba will break the record for the world's biggest IPO.

5. -- The fate of the United Kingdom is at stake Thursday as voters in Scotland go to the polls to decide whether to become an independent country. More than 2,600 polling places are open and turnout is expected to be high.

Polls suggest the result is too close to call.

6. -- Oracle (ORCL) is expected by Wall Street to post fiscal first-quarter earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $8.78 billion.

Oracle, the business software maker, earned 56 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter.

7. -- A bug in Apple's (AAPL) new iOS 8 software for mobile devices is prompting the company to withhold apps that use a highly touted feature for keeping track of fitness and health data.

Apple said it hopes to have HealthKit apps restored to its app store by the end of the month. Affected apps include Carrot Fit, WebMD and AskMD. Apple didn't provide details on what went wrong.

The iOS 8 software became available Wednesday. 

8. -- Amazon.com (AMZN) introduced two new e-readers and new styles of its Kindle Fire HD tablet as part of a fall lineup of Kindle devices.

Amazon refreshed its Kindle Fire HDX with a sharper 8.9-inch display, better sound and faster processor, but the device retained the same $379 price tag.

It is also now offering Kindle Fire HD tablet in two sizes, with 6- and 7-inch screens.  The devices with a 6-inch screen start at $99, while the 7-inch screen starts at $139, down from $154.

The online retailing giant also is introducing a kids Kindle HD tablet, $149 for a 6-inch screen and $189 for a 7-inch screen.

9. -- Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, plans to build a rocket engine that would eventually replace the Russian mainstay used in many American unmanned launches.

United Launch Alliance, a venture of Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) , said Wednesday it will pay Bezos' Blue Origin space firm to develop new rocket engines. In about four years, the launch alliance hopes to start using the new engines in Delta and Atlas rockets.

10. -- ConAgra Foods (CAG) is forecast to report fiscal first-quarter profit of 35 cents a share on revenue of $3.73 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Copyright 2014 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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