U.S. stocks appear to have at least temporarily put the brakes on their recent slide, though investors remain focused on a potential military strike in Syria. The major averages come off their first gains in three sessions, and futures are pointing to a slightly higher open for the Thursday session.
Two key economic reports are due before the opening bell, both at 8:30 a.m. ET. The first revision of second quarter GDP is seen showing an annual growth rate for the U.S. economy of 2.2 percent, compared to the initial reading of 1.7 percent. Economists are also expecting the weekly report on initial jobless claims to show 332,000 new claims for the week ending August 24, down from 336,000 the prior week.
The Energy Department will be out with its weekly look at natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET, and the Treasury will auction $29 billion in 7-year notes, with the results of that sale due shortly after 1 p.m. ET.
Two Fed speakers are on the calendar today, as investors look ahead to the September meeting of Fed policymakers. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will speak in Memphis, Tennessee at 8:50 a.m. ET, while Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker has a 2 p.m. ET address in Newport News, Virginia.
Campbell Soup (CPB) is among the few companies set to release quarterly earnings this morning, along with Pall Corp. (PLL) and Corinthian Colleges (COCO). Salesforce.com (CRM) and Krispy Kreme (KKD) will be out with earnings after today's closing bell.
Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD) lead our list of stocks to watch this morning, as the two confirm they're in talks about a possible purchase by Verizon of Vodafone's 45 percent stake in their Verizon Wireless joint venture.
Guess (GES) reported second quarter profit of 52 cents per share for the second quarter, 16 cents above estimates. Revenue also topped consensus, but the retailer is also projecting current quarter profit below current analyst forecasts. Investors are focusing on the upbeat second quarter, which came amid better than expected sales in North America.
Fresh Market (TFM) matched estimates with second quarter profit of 32 cents per share, but the grocer also cut its full year forecast while lifting the low end of its same-store sales outlook.
Johnson & Johnson has announced a partnership with London's University of Leuven, in an attempt to develop drugs to treat dengue fever. That malady is the world's fastest spreading tropical disease.
Blackstone (BX) has settled a class action suit over its 2007 initial public offering for $85 million. Blackstone had been accused of not disclosing that various investments were declining in value ahead of the IPO. Blackstone continues to deny wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
U.S. Airways (LCC), American Airlines parent AMR (AMR), and the Justice Department all say they are open to negotiating a possible settlement of the DOJ suit to prevent a merger of the two airlines. But there is no indication that any sort of agreement is near.
The board of chipmaker Altera (ALTR) has approved an increase in the company's buyback program, now allowing it to repurchase approximately 13 percent of its outstanding shares.