Stocks: 4 things to know before the open

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Click chart for in-depth premarket data.

Barring a nasty surprise, it looks like markets could break their three-day losing streak Thursday.

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

1. Staples stocks surge: Shares in Staples (SPLS) are up about 12% premarket after activist investment firm Starboard Value announced it had amassed more than a 5% stake in the retailer. Starboard already owns a stake in Office Depot and speculation is rising about whether the two could merge.

2. Time for a bounce as oil recovers?: U.S. stock futures are edging up Thursday after markets endured three consecutive days of losses.

Investors have grown increasingly nervous over the past few weeks as they consider how plunging crude oil prices will damage the oil industry and the energy boom that has helped the U.S. recovery.

Oil prices have fallen by roughly 40% since June. U.S. crude futures are staging a modest recovery Thursday, trading just above $61 per barrel.

That's helping some firms in the sector: Transocean (RIG) and Halliburton (HAL) are rising by 2% premarket.

Shares in BP (BP) are also up by about 0.5% in London. The company said Wednesday it may cut back spending due to the tough market environment.

On the international stage, European stock markets were mostly dipping in early afternoon trading, while all major Asian markets ended with losses.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

3. Russian rates rise again: Russia's central bank has hiked its main interest rate Thursday for the fifth time this year, up by one percentage point to 10.5%. Many economists were expecting the move in an effort to steady the country's free falling currency.

Russia's economy is suffering from plunging oil prices, rising inflation and the impact of Western sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.

Related: Is Russia's central bank guilty of sabotage?

4. Earnings and economics: Lululemon (LULU) and RadioShack (RSH) will report quarterly earnings before the opening bell. Adobe Systems (ADBE) will report after the close.

The U.S. government will post weekly jobless claims and monthly retail sales, both at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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