President Obama meets his peers, Tiffany reports earnings after the earthquake and Google jumps into the mobile payment game. Here's what we're watching...
Tarnished Tiffany: High-end retailer Polo Ralph Lauren got whacked in Wednesday's trading session on its underwhelming earnings report. On deck Thursday is Tiffany . The stock is trading near its all-time high of $70.45, with shares spiking Wednesday on news from the Ira Sohn conference that Nelson Peltz' Trian Partners think the stock could hit $100. The primary question for Tiffany's earnings is how much impact the Japanese earthquake had on sales. A whopping 50 of the company's 230 stores are located in the devastated island nation. A secondary question: Will Newt Gingrich's reported $250,000-plus debt to the jewelry retailer (which may or may not have been paid) affect the bottom line. Ok, it's not gonna affect the bottom line, but it's salacious nonetheless. Wall Street expects the luxury name to report profits of 57 cents a share.
Leaders of the World Unite!: Global leaders congregate in the French resort town of Deauville Thursday for the latest G-8 Summit. President Obama is set to arrive in the morning from London, and spend the day in meetings, perhaps most notably with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Civil war in Libya, waves of unrest throughout the Middle East and economic turmoil in Europe: no shortage of talking points.
Cash, Credit or App?:Google is set to launch a mobile payment system for iPhone and Android users Thursday. Digital payment has become the latest holy grail in tech-land with startups and big-caps alike making their plays. Next-generation smartphones, including presumed features in the iPhone5, will expedite this process if they include NFC (near field communication) chips, which basically allow your phone to act as a swipe card. Makers of NFC chips used by the major handset companies will mint a pretty penny in years to come.
Where the Jobs Are: Weekly jobless claims numbers are announced at 8:30am ET, with a consensus forecast of 405,000. On Wednesday, General Motors announced further hiring plans at its Detroit plant. While we've recovered from the depths of double-digit joblessness, is there any way to get America back to 3 percent unemployment with these corporate baby steps? Markets will be looking at Thursday's numbers as a prelude to next week's monthly labor report.
Remembering Mark: Far beyond Thursday, we'll be focused on the unexpected passing of our longtime colleague and friend Mark Haines. While he'll no longer sit in the anchor chair, he will forever be an essential part of the fabric of CNBC. The outpouring of kind words from viewers, guests and other well-wishers reminds us of how many people he touched and what a legacy he leaves. We'll miss you, Mark.