Wall Street has been looking closely at quarterly results from big retailers, especially Wal-Mart. And they don't like what they see.
Wal-Mart ( , the )world's largest retailer, reported first-quarter earnings and sales, and second-quarter forecasts that fell short of estimates. Shares of the Dow component slipped in premarket trading.
Retailer Kohl's ( will also report before the open, while )J.C. Penney ( and )Nordstrom ( will report after the close. )
U.S. stock futures were vacillating between small gains and losses Thursday morning.
The main premarket mover was Cisco Systems (. Shares were spiking by roughly 7% after the firm reported earnings that beat expectations. )
The fast-food industry is also in the spotlight Thursday as workers plan demonstrations in 150 cities around the world to protest low wages.
On the economic front, the U.S. government will publish weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its latest consumer price index information.
European markets were edging down in midday trading after mixed economic data from the eurozone.