Morning Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were suggesting Wall Street would open lower Thursday ahead of a barrage of corporate earnings reports.

European stocks were trading lower as the debt crisis in the region dented profits, while Asian stocks finished with gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.9% to 8,443.10.

U.S. stocks on Wednesday finished mixed amid another round of spotty earnings reports and disappointing new-home sales data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced nearly 59 points, or 0.47%, to settle at 12,676. The S&P 500 was down fractionally, closing at 1338. The Nasdaq lost nearly 9 points, or 0.31%, to close at 2854.

The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ED; durable goods orders for June at 8:30 a.m.; and pending home sales for June at 10 a.m.

The consensus expectation is for initial claims to come in at 381,000, down slightly from last week's 386,000 total, according to

Dow components 3M , Exxon Mobil and United Technologies report earnings Thursday.

Facebook , the social networking giant, also is expected to post its quarterly results after Thursday's closing bell. It's the company's first-ever report as a public company.

Analysts expect Facebook to report a profit of 12 cents a share on revenue of $1.15 billion.

Facebook partner Zynga on Wednesday reported a below-consensus quarterly profit and lowered its outlook.

Regarding its fiscal 2012 outlook, the FarmVille maker cited a "a more challenging environment on the Facebook web platform." It said it now sees earnings of 4 cents to 9 cents a share. Wall Street analysts were looking for earnings of 27 cents a share.

Royal Dutch Shell , the European oil behemoth, posted a decline in second-quarter profit, mostly because of lower oil prices.

Shell's "current cost of supplies" earnings, which strips out the impact of swings in the price of oil between its production and sale, was $6.0 billion (€4.94 billion), compared with $8 billion a year earlier.

Earnings reports Thursday before the bell include Alaska Air Group , Amylin Pharmaceuticals , Colgate-Palmolive , Dow Chemical , Dr. Pepper Snapple Group , Dunkin Brands , Kimberly-Clark , McGraw-Hill , National Oilwell Varco , New York Times , Occidental Petroleum , Pulte Homes , Raytheon , Sprint Nextel , United Continental Holdings and Waste Management .

After the bell Thursday earnings are expected from Amgen , Chubb , Coinstar , Deckers Outdoor , Expedia , Human Genome Sciences , KLA-Tencor , Nutrisystem , Tellabs and VeriSign .

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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