Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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Markets are poised for a pullback Thursday after the Dow Jones industrial average cruised to a new record high.

U.S. stock futures were pointing lower, following a slump in European markets, which were reacting to the toll that U.S. sanctions are taking on Russian markets.

"I think a lot of this is down to geopolitics," said Tom Beevers, chief executive officer of "I think the news out of Russia is not something that's going to impact U.S. markets to a great degree. But it's giving markets a little bit of a pause for thought."

He said that markets are vulnerable to a potential downturn after having "had a key run the last few days."

Here are four things you need to know before the opening bell rings in New York:

1. Stocks on the move -- SanDisk, Fiat, Volkswagen: Shares in SanDisk (SNDK) fell nearly 10% premarket after its quarterly report disappointed investors. Fiat (FIADF)-- owner of Chrysler -- was up nearly 4% in Europe on a report that Volkswagen (VLKAF) is thinking about a takeover. VW shares were down 2%.

Related: Fear and Greed Index still extremely greedy

2. Earnings: Earnings season continues, with Morgan Stanley (MS) reporting results before the opening bell. The finance firm reported quarterly gains in net income and revenue, compared to the year-earlier quarter.

Shares in the bank were trading up 0.7% premarket. Google (GOOG) and IBM (IBM) are slated to report earnings after the close.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

3. Economic data: The U.S. government will report weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, as well as the number of housing starts and building permits issued in June at the same time.

A consensus of economists surveyed by projects jobless claims of 311,000 in the week ended July 12. Housing starts are projected to have reached an annualized rate of 1,020,000 in June, while building permits are forecast at an annual rate of 1,037,000 for that period.

4. Market overview: Asian markets flopped, led by a 0.6% drop on China's Shanghai Composite. European stocks were also broadly lower in early trading. Russian stocks fell by nearly 3%, and the ruble slipped against the dollar, after the U.S. announced new sanctions related to the crisis in Ukraine.

U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 17,138, another record high. The S&P 500 gained about 0.4% and the Nasdaq finished about 0.2% higher.

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