Futures unsettled ahead of jobless claims data
Secretary of State Kerry begins a series of meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov about Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set too kick off two days of meetings on Thursday to discuss how to handle Syria's chemical weapons.
The U.S. has backed the Russian-led proposal for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons and avoid a military strike. The key issue between the two sides will be whether or not the resolution will include the threat of military force if Syria does not comply.
In other news around the markets:
* On Wednesday, Verizon (VZ) held the largest ever bond offering, which raised $49 billion and far eclipsed Apple's (AAPL) previous record of $17 billion. The cash raised will go towards Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodafone's (VOD) stake in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless.
* Umpqua Holdings (UMPQ) announced that it will acquire Sterling Financial (STSA). The merger will create one of the largest community banks on the west coast. The deal will cost $2 billion in cash and stock and will leave Umpqua with $22 billion in assets and almost 400 branches.
* Facebook (FB) shares are finally living up to the hype of its trading debut back in May 2012. The company's stock hit a new high of $45.09 on Wednesday, and ended with gains of 2.9% at $44.88 at the end of the day.
* Australian unemployment data disappointed, rising to its highest level in four years at 5.8%. The figure suggests that the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates in the coming months and weighed down the Australian dollar.
Asian markets were mostly up on Thursday with the exception of the Japanese NIKKEI, which fell 0.26%. The Shanghai composite and the Shenzhen composites were up 0.64% and 0.16%, respectively, and the Hang Seng index and KOSPI index were both flat.
European markets got off to a good start. The UK's FTSE was up 0.15%, and the eurozone's STOXX 600 was up 0.08%. The Spanish IBEX gained 0.52%, and Amsterdam's AEX was up 0.38%.
Brent crude futures were up 0.13% to $111.65 on Thursday, but WTI futures fell 0.16%. Gold dropped 1.55% to $1,342.70 per ounce, and silver lost 2.06%. Copper also lost 1.13%, but aluminum was up 0.33%.
The euro and the pound gained 0.12% and 0.15% against the dollar respectively. The yen fell below the 100 yen to one dollar mark and gained 0.32% against the dollar.
Earnings reported Wednesday
Notable companies that reported earnings on Wednesday included:
Men's Wearhouse (MW) reported second quarter EPS of $1.01 on revenue of $647.30 million, compared to last year's EPS of $1.15 on revenue of $662.30 million.
Vera Bradley (VRA) reported second quarter EPS of $0.37 on revenue of $125.40 million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.33 on revenue of $123.04 million.
Stocks moving in the premarket included:
Newmont Mining (NEM) lost 1.56% in premarket trade as gold prices tumbled.
Notable companies expected to report earnings on Thursday include:
United Natural Foods (UNFI) is expected to report EPS of $0.60 on revenue of $1.63 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.51 on revenue of $1.34 billion.
Kroger (KR) is expected to report EPS of $0.60 on revenue of $22.67 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.51 on revenue of $21.73 billion.
Lululemon Athletica (LULU) is expected to report EPS of $0.35 on revenue of $343.10 million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.39 on revenue of $282.63 million.
Notable economic releases on Thursday include eurozone industrial production, Spanish CPI, Italian industrial production, French CPI, Indian CPI and industrial production, Brazilian retail sales, and U.S. import and export prices.
An 8:30 a.m. ET a report of initial jobless claims from the Department of Labor is expected to show an increase to 330,000 for the period ending September 7 compared to 323,000 in the previous period.
More from Benzinga
Initial jobless claims under 400,000 is still considered a positive. However the trend is worrisome.
Median wages and employment numbers are still below the start of the recession. The recovery is moving sideways and with debt talks looming in the not too far off future, it will most likely hinge on whether or not our politicians can work together.
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The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.
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