Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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Wall Street is focused on GDP data right now. But that's not the only thing going on in the markets.

Here are 4 things you need to know before the opening bell:

1. GDP data could show a contraction: The U.S. government is set to revise its first quarter GDP figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, and the numbers may show the U.S. economy contracted in the first three months of the year.

"There is market chatter that we could get a significant downward revision to the first estimate due to revised assessments of business investment, equipment spending and construction activity," wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid, in a market report.

This would mark the first GDP decline since the start of 2011. But there's no need to freak out: a dip is expected and it does not necessarily signal the start of another recession. Economists are expecting a weak number because of a slump in spending, which can be blamed on cold winter weather.

The first estimate of GDP from late April showed the U.S. economy grew by 0.1% in the first quarter.

The government will also release weekly jobless claims numbers at 8:30 a.m.

2. Market direction: U.S. stock futures were slightly higher Thursday, and not far from record-setting territory. Any surprise in the GDP figure could shift market sentiment.

Apple (AAPL) shares were modestly higher in premarket trading after the technology giant announced that it was buying headphone-maker Beats for $3 billion.

U.S. stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday. The S&P 500 retreated from an all-time high, while the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 42 points and the Nasdaq dropped just under 0.3%. But it was still the fourth-highest close ever for the Dow.

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3. Ready for more earnings: Costco (COST) has issued its latest quarterly results, showing sales increased but profit came in slightly below expectations.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) will also report earnings before the opening bell.

Retailers Guess (GES) and Pacific Sunwear (PSUN) will report after the close.

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4. International movements: European markets posted small declines in morning trading, though the FTSE 100 index in London was higher.

Asian markets mostly closed in the red Thursday.

Japan's Nikkei index bucked the trend and edged up by 0.1%. Japanese investors shrugged off retail sales data from April showing consumers were cutting back on their shopping after a sales tax hike.

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