NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Investors will hope for positive readings on unemployment and leading indicators while eyeing the retail sector for Thursday's action in a bid to reverse the steep market losses Wednesday.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. posted a 24 percent rise in its quarterly earnings as demand for its household goods remained strong, but the company said same-store sales, a key gauge for retail companies, grew 4.8 percent for the quarter, less than the 5.9 percent gain in the year-ago quarter.
Although the speciality retailer beat earnings estimates by a penny, the sales news was enough to send Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY: Research, Estimates) shares down 4.4 percent to $37.86 in after-hours trade.
Drugmaker Pfizer Inc. said it will buy drug delivery technology company Meridica Limited for $125 million and a contingent payment.
Although Pfizer said the acquisition will strengthen the company's presence in the allergy and respiratory therapeutic area, investors thought ill of the deal and sent Pfizer (PFE: Research, Estimates) shares down 1.3 percent to $29.80 after the bell. Shares also shed 2.3 percent during regular trade.
Companies releasing earnings before the bell Thursday include A.G. Edwards (AGE: Research, Estimates) and Rite Aid (RAD: Research, Estimates).
Analyst expect earnings per share of 56 cents at A.G. Edwards and a loss of .01 cents at Rite Aid, according to Reuters.
Economic numbers due before the bell include initial unemployment claims and a reading of the basket of leading economic indicators.
Initial unemployment claims for the week ending Sept. 18 are expected to come in at 338,000, up from 333,000 last week, according to Briefing.com.
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The leading economic indicators for August are expected to decline by 0.2 percent, compared to July's 0.3 percent decline.
In other after-bell news, American Airlines holding company AMR Corp. (AMR: Research, Estimates) said that the airline's August revenue was weaker than expected, after hurricanes and high fuel prices cut into results, and that it might not be able to comply with a covenant of a bank credit facility.
Restaurant operator Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI: Research, Estimates), which runs hundreds of Red Lobster and Olive Garden franchises, reported higher quarterly earnings -- $72.1 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $68.6 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago -- helped by strong performance at the Italian-themed Olive Garden.
And home builder M.D.C. Holdings Inc. (MDC: Research, Estimates) said it expects its third- and fourth-quarter earnings to exceed analysts' highest current predictions.