Stocks: 3 things to know before the open

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Global stock markets are pulling back Thursday following a relatively steady rally since mid-February.

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

1. Red across the board: U.S. stock futures are sliding, and European markets are roughly 1% lower in early trading.

Asian markets ended the day in the red, with most indexes dropping by 1% to 2%.

Mining companies are taking a beating as commodity prices drop and the U.S. dollar strengthens.

As traders consider their next move, it's worth noting that stock markets have been on a remarkable run for the last few weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have all surged from their recent lows, gaining between 11% and 12% since February 11.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

2. Stocks to watch -- Yahoo, Syngenta, Next: Yahoo (YHOO) shares are edging higher premarket after the Wall Street Journal reported that activist hedge fund Starboard has called for the struggling tech icon to replace its entire nine-member board. The stage is now set for a full-blown proxy fight.

Investors are monitoring ChemChina's $43 billion takeover of Swiss seed and pesticide firm Syngenta (SYT) after a key U.S. lawmaker raised concerns over the deal's impact on U.S. food security and distribution. Shares in Syngenta sank Thursday along with the rest of the Swiss market.

Investors punished British retailer Next after the company issued a downbeat business forecast. Company shares were down around 9% and acting as a major drag on the FTSE 100 in London.

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

3. Earnings and economics: It's a relatively light earning schedule ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Accenture (ACN) and Finish Line (FINL) are among the main companies reporting ahead of the opening bell.

On the economic front, the U.S. Department of Labor is reporting weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. ET. The government will release data on natural gas inventories at 10:30 a.m.

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