NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Thursday will be a day of retail as the world's largest corporation posts its earnings, and economic data on sales is set for release.
But first, Avnet Inc., the No. 2 distributor of computer products and electronics components, posted a quarterly profit that more than quadrupled, boosted by a sustained recovery in the technology sector.
Nonetheless, Avnet (AVT: Research, Estimates) stock fell more than six percent in after-hours trading to $16.05; its first-quarter forecast was below estimates.
The Phoenix, Ariz.-based company said net income for its fourth quarter ended July 3 rose to $48.7 million, or 40 cents per share, from $11.5 million, or 10 cents, a year ago.
Revenue rose 21 percent, to $2.64 billion from $2.19 billion, the highest year-over-year growth rate in more than three years, the company said in a statement.
Analysts, on average, had forecast that the company would post a profit of 39 cents per share on revenue of $2.72 billion.
Companies releasing earnings before the bell Thursday include Wal-Mart (WMT: Research, Estimates), Target (TGT: Research, Estimates), Urban Outfitters (URBN: Research, Estimates), Pep Boys, (PBY: Research, Estimates) Payless Shoes (PSS: Research, Estimates) and American Eagle (AEOS: Research, Estimates).
Analysts estimate earnings per share of 61 cents at Wal-Mart and 47 cents at Target, according to Reuters Estimates.
The Fed will get a chance to prove its soft-spot economic theory with a bevy of economic indicators, all set for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Analysts expect June business inventories to show a growth of .6 percent, up from .4 percent in May, according to Briefing.com.
Initial claims for the week ending August 7 are expected to be 340,000, up slightly over the prior week's 336,000.
Retail sales for the month of July are expected to grow 1.1 percent, compared to a 1.1 percent contraction in June. Excluding auto sales, the number is expected to be a .4 percent jump as opposed to a .2 percent drop in June.
News Corp. Ltd. on Wednesday said fourth-quarter profit rose on strong advertising sales at its television stations and cable networks.
Shares in News Corp (NWS: Research, Estimates). were up slightly in after-hours trading to $32.19.
The global media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $399 million, or 27 cents per American Depository Receipt, compared with a profit of $370 million, or 28 cents per ADR.
Film and television company Fox Entertainment Group Inc. reported Wednesday a 25 percent rise in quarterly net income driven by gains in its film division and advertising growth at its TV operations.
Fox shares were also up slightly after the bell to $25.25.
In a statement, Fox (FOX: Research, Estimates) said it earned fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $323 million, or 33 cents per share, compared with $258 million, or 29 cents per share, one year ago. Revenues rose 14 percent to $3.2 billion from $2.8 billion last year.
Fox Entertainment Group is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Ltd.
Cyberonics Inc., which is awaiting U.S. approval of its surgically implanted device to treat depression, on Wednesday reported a quarterly loss versus a year-ago profit on higher expenses and flat revenue growth.
The Houston-based company reported a loss of $2.9 million, or 12 cents per share, for its fiscal first-quarter ended July 30, compared with a profit of $2.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Analysts on average expected a loss of 12 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Cyberonics (CYBX: Research, Estimates) shares were up slightly after the bell to $24.24.