Stocks stuck in neutral
European markets edge higher Thursday
Investors continue wait for a catalyst as another dose of earnings reports and economic data is teed up for Thursday.
On the economic front, weekly initial jobless claims came in at 366,000 -- marking a drop of 5,000 from the previous week. Meanwhile, the nation's business productivity dropped 2% in 2012's fourth quarter, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the afternoon, the Federal Reserve will release data on consumer credit for December.
U.S. stock futures were little changed ahead of the opening bell, but a bit of corporate news gave investors something to consider.
Sprint Nextel shares edged lower in premarket trading after the cell phone carrier reported a fourth quarter loss in line with expectations.
Shares of Sony dropped 3% after the electronics manufacturer reported a surprising third quarter loss.
Alcatel Lucent posted another quarterly loss, yet shares jumped nearly 5% on news that CEO Ben Verwaayen is resigning from his post.
Akamai Technologies shares plunged 17% in premarket trading after the company, which provides Internet content delivery, cut its revenue forecasts.
Shares of Macy's rose nearly 4% following the retailer's announcement that same-store sales rose 11.7% in January.
Shares of Blackberry rose more than 3% in premarket trading, after the smartphone maker said the Canadian launch of its new Z10 smartphone was its best launch ever.
LinkedIn headlines the group of companies reporting after markets close.
U.S. stocks finished little changed Wednesday, as investors weighed concerns about Europe against the latest corporate results.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters shares continued to tumble Thursday morning, sinking 7% on slightly lower sales growth.
News Corp. reported earnings that matched analysts' expectations Wednesday yet shares continued lower in premarket trading Thursday.
European markets were mixed on a day of meetings at the European Central Bank and Bank of England. The British central bank kept interest rates unchanged, and the ECB isn't expected to waver from its monetary policies either, but ECB President Mario Draghi is likely to be quizzed about political strains in the eurozone and the euro's strength.
Asian markets ended in the red. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7%, the Nikkei declined 0.9% and the Hang Seng lost 0.3%.
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