Markets

Earnings, ECB decision, job market check: 3 things to watch for in the markets on Thursday

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Here are the most important things to know about Thursday before you hit the door.

1. Earnings continue

Technology company Intel reports earnings after the bell on Thursday. Bank of America said it will be watching for how Intel is working to combat market share loss, especially to AMD.

Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting Intel to report earnings per share of $1.25, compared with the $1.28 per share earned in the fourth quarter the year prior. Sales are expected to come in at $19.23 billion, topping last year's $18.657 billion in sales in the fourth quarter. Shares of Intel are up nearly 30% in the past 12 months.

We'll also get earnings from consumer goods company Procter & Gamble before the bell on Thursday. Analysts are estimating earnings of $1.37 per share, topping last year's second quarter of $1.25 per share, according to FactSet. Sales are forecast to come in at $18.417 billion, compared to the $17.438 billion earned in the same quarter last year. Shares of Procter & Gamble have rallied nearly 40% in the past 12 months.

Airlines American and Southwest will also report quarterly earnings before the bell on Thursday. Airline stocks have been hit this week due to concerns that the coronavirus outbreak in China would dent international travel.

2. ECB rate decision to move markets?

The euro is hovering at one-month lows ahead of the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday. A policy meeting expected to be a "non-event," now has risks for a "hawkish surprise in tone," Bank of America rates and currencies research group economist Ruben Segura-Cayuela said in a note to clients.

ECB President Christine Lagarde is expected to detail a sweeping ECB strategy review.

"Combined with increasing emphasis on the need to monitor "side effects" from negative rates, the risk balance for this week is for a hawkish surprise," said Segura-Cayuela. The central bank voted in December 2019 to keep the main deposit rate at the historic low of -0.5%.

"It could be controversial, but not at this meeting … The market is focused on inflation and the inflation target," Bannockburn Global Forex chief market strategist Marc Chandler said. "The review is going to be very broad, and it could include the tools and communications."

3. Job market check

We'll get a read on the health of the labor market on Thursday when the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Investors will be watching if the jobs market in 2020 remains a bright spot of the economy.

Economists are estimating 215,000 Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, according to Dow Jones. This would be up from the previous week's 204,000 claims.

Major events (all times ET):

7:45 a.m. ECB decision

8:30 a.m. ECB press conference

8:30 a.m. Initial claims

10:00 a.m. Leading economic indicators

11:00 a.m. Kansas City Fed manufacturing survey

Major earnings:

Comcast (before the bell)

Procter & Gamble (before the bell)

American Airlines (before the bell)

Southwest Air (before the bell)

Union Pacific (before the bell)

Kimberly-Clark (before the bell)

Intel (after the bell)

E-Trade (after the bell)

Intuitive Surgical (after the bell)

— With reporting from CNBC's Michael Bloom and Patti Domm.