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Thursday Look Ahead: Jobless Claims, IPOs & Stocks

Thursday rolls around again and so do weekly jobless claims, the new nail-biter number traders are watching.

Claims are expected to come in at 405,000, down from last week's 409,000.

Japanese job fair
Toru Yamanaka | AFP | Getty Images
Japanese job fair

Weekly jobless claims have been elevated, above 400,000 for the past couple of weeks, rising on excuses about auto plant shutdowns, weather and holidays. But traders are watching to see if the number begins to move lower again, or whether there's a more worrisome concern.

"If they don't go below 400,000 it could be a sticky problem," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS. "Everybody's been trying to write it off as the carry over of the supply chain problems."

Revised first quarter GDP is reported Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the same time as unemployment claims. It is expected to rise to 2.2 percent from the first reading of 1.8 percent.

Stocks moved higher Wednesday, with the Dow gaining 38 to 12,394 and the S&P up 4 at 1320. Oil jumped 1.7 percent to $101.32 a barrel, on a surprise drop in distillate inventories. The energy sector was the best performing, up 1.5 percent, followed by materials and industrials.

What Else to Watch

Interesting to note that after the recent high flying IPOs, Freescale Semiconductor priced at $18, below the offered range of $22 to $25.

There are a few earnings of note, including Sony , Tiffany and Heinz .

The meeting of G-8 leaders starts Thursday in Deauville, France.

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