Stocks: Retreat on tap

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U.S. stocks may retreat further from record highs Thursday as investors digest the latest batch of mixed earnings results.

The main indexes around the world were lower and U.S. stock futures dipped modestly.

More than a third of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported second-quarter results. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 65% had topped analysts' expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ.

But Caterpillar (CAT), Broadcom (BRCM) and AT&T (T) all delivered results short of Wall Street's forecasts.

On Thursday, 56 companies from the S&P 500 are scheduled to report results, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid.

General Motors (GM) said on Thursday that its earnings fell, but not as much as forecast. The automaker's share rose in premarket trading.

Also before the bell, Dow Chemical (DOW) and Tripadvisor (TRIP) reported quarterly profit gains.

Amazon (AMZN) and Starbucks (SBUX) are due to report after the close.

Credit Suisse (CS) reported second quarter results Thursday morning, revealing a strong performance by its investment banking business that helped boost profits. But the financial services firm's stock dipped in premarket trading.

In economic news, the government released jobless claims data Thursday morning in line with expectations. Initial claims rose to 343,000 for the week ended July 20, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week.

New orders of durable goods, also reported by the Census Bureau, surged past expectations. The number jumped by 4.2% in June to $244.5 billion and has risen for four of the past five months. The increase is largely due to a $5.4 billion increase in non-defense spending for capital goods.

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U.S. stocks finished mostly lower Wednesday, though a tech rally fueled by Apple's (AAPL) better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday limited the losses.

Facebook (FB) shares surged in premarket trading after the company posted strong quarterly results on Wednesday afternoon. It said its mobile ad business continued to gain traction. The momentum propelled Zynga's (ZNGA) stock, as well. The app developer has games on Facebook.

Related: Facebook shares soar on strong earnings

European markets were lower in midday trading. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, Germany's DAX and the CAC 40 in France were all down by about 0.7%.

Asian markets ended with losses, even as the Chinese government announced a mini-stimulus plan that should give a boost to certain areas of the economy, including small businesses.

Baidu (BIDU) shares surged premarket after the Chinese internet company reported a second quarter profit that topped analyst expectations.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite index declined by 0.6%.

In Japan, Tokyo's Nikkei fell by 1.1%.

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