Stocks: Investors Gird for Choppy Session Thursday

wall street new york stock exchange floor trader
Richard Drew/AP

U.S. stocks could be choppy Thursday as indexes across Asia tumbled into the red and European markets saw big swings.

U.S. stock futures were little changed. European markets fell sharply lower in morning trading but then popped up into positive territory.

Asian markets ended with losses across the board.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei index took a 5.2 percent plunge Thursday. It is now more than 10 percent off its peak and in a technical correction. The index had risen by well over 70 percent in less than a year.

U.S. investors head into Thursday awaiting the government's weekly data on initial jobless claims and its second estimate of first-quarter Gross Domestic Product.

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In the first estimate, released last month, the government said GDP rose at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first three months of the year, driven largely by a pick-up in consumer spending.

At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Realtors will release data on pending home sales.
In corporate news, discount retailer Costco (COST) is set to release its quarterly results before the opening bell.

U.S. stocks fell Wednesday, with all major indexes losing as much as 0.7 percent. The declines came as worries resurfaced about when the Federal Reserve might curtail its bond-buying program.

Shares of NV Energy (NVE) surged in after-hours trading on news that MidAmerican Energy, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), had agreed to acquire it.

MidAmerican will pay $23.75 a share, a 23 percent premium to NV Energy's closing price Wednesday of $19.28.

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