Corporate earnings continue Thursday, but it's Boeing at center-stage as governments around the world ground its 787 Dreamliner fleet.
Regulators in Europe, India and Japan joined the Federal Aviation Administration after it grounded all Dreamliner planes. They cited worries about onboard lithium-ion batteries that have twice caught fire recently. Boeing ( shares fell 3% in premarket trading. )
U.S. stock futures were higher as major financial institutions reported earnings.
Bank of America ( posted fourth-quarter earnings that fell from a year earlier but topped forecasts. The bank's results included charges related to its portion of )last year's $26 billion foreclosure settlement alongside four other banks. Revenue fell short, though, and shares fell more than 1% in premarket trading.
Citigroup ( reported profits that )missed expectations, partly due to high legal costs amounting to $1.3 billion. Chief Executive Michael Corbat cited "an environment that remains challenging." Shares fell 2% in premarket trading.
BlackRock (, the world's largest asset manager, reported better-than-expected earnings of $3.96 per share. Shares rose more than 3%. )
American Express (, )Capital One ( and )Intel ( will report results up after the closing bell on Thursday. )
Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to report earnings growth of 3.2% for the last three months of 2012, according to S&P's Capital IQ.
Shares of Herbalife ( dropped more than 2% in premarket trading, after the vitamin supplement company said it would likely incur temporary expenses relate to "recent events." Activist investor Bill Ackman, who runs the $11 billion hedge fund Pershing Square, has called )Herbalife a pyramid scheme and publicly said that he's betting $1 billion that its stock will fall to zero.
CBS ( shares rose nearly 10% in premarket trading, after the company announced it would take its American outdoor division, which runs billboards, and convert it into a real estate investment trust. It's planning to outright sell those operations in Europe and Asia. )
As for economic data, the government reported a 5-year low for weekly jobless claims, falling 37,000 to 335,000 in the latest week.
Meanwhile, the pace of home building surged in December, as the market bounced back from the impact of Superstorm Sandy. The Census Bureau's report showed housing starts increased 12.1% over the previous month.
U.S. stocks ended mixed Wednesday.
European markets were mixed in early trade. The FTSE 100 slipped as mining company Rio Tinto ( )replaced its CEO after taking a $14 billion writedown on its aluminum and coal businesses. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed narrowly higher, but the Hang Seng slipped and the Shanghai Composite fell more than 1%.