Stocks set for a 'little breather'

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Click on chart for premarket data

Another day, another gain? Maybe not.

U.S. stock futures were slightly lower Thursday morning, after closing in record territory the previous trading session.

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 hit new highs on Wednesday. Each of these indexes have rallied by roughly 15% since the start of the year.

"I think we're taking a little breather," said John Edmunds, a business professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., who has written several books about international finance. "[But] I don't see anything that would cause a deep decline. A lot of people think it's gone up so far, it's going to decline, but the fundamentals are actually getting better."

After a solid monthly jobs report last week, the U.S. government said Thursday that initial jobless claims dropped further than expected to 323,000 last week, the lowest weekly tally in five years.

At 10 a.m. ET, the Census Bureau will release its monthly report on wholesale inventories.

In corporate news, Techcrunch reported that Microsoft (MSFT) may offer to buy the digital assets of Barnes and Noble's Nook Media e-reader unit for $1 billion, prompting a 25% surge in Barnes & Noble (BKS) stock in premarket trading.

DISH Network (DISH) released quarterly results before the opening bell, showing a decline in sales and profit.

After the market closed Wednesday, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) reported earnings that beat analysts' expectations and announced plans to extend its partnership with Starbucks (SBUX). Green Mountain shares rose sharply.

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Tesla (TSLA) shares surged 22% after the electric car maker reported quarterly earnings and revenue that blew past analyst expectations.

SodaStream loses its pop
SodaStream loses its pop

News Corp. (NWSA) shares jumped as well after the media conglomerate said sales rose in the first quarter and reported earnings that met expectations.

Shares of Monster Beverage (MNST) sank after the company's quarterly earnings missed estimates. The energy drink maker, which has been criticized for marketing its highly caffeinated products to children, blamed the drop in earnings on legal costs and other short-term factors.

Groupon (GRPN) shares rose 12% as the daily deal site reported narrowing losses.

European markets were lower in midday trading. The CAC 40 in France was the worst performer with a dip of nearly 1%.

Asian markets ended lower. The Hang Seng lost 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite and Nikkei declined 0.6%.

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