Stocks: 5 things to know before the open

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All eyes are turning to the U.K. today.

The country is holding a historic referendum on the European Union, with voters deciding whether the country should leave or remain a member of the 28-country bloc. The result, expected hours after the polls close at 5 pm ET, could power strong global market reactions.

On top of that, Donald Trump is flying to Scotland to attend the official opening of his Turnberry golf resort Friday.

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

1. Global market overview: Stock markets are looking relatively upbeat right now. U.S. stock futures are moving higher and most major European markets are in positive territory in early trading. The FTSE 100 is up about 0.8%.

Asian markets ended the day with mixed results. The Nikkei in Japan was a standout performer with a 1.1% gain.

In the currency market, the pound is slipping against the U.S. dollar after hitting $1.48.

Related: Brits hoard dollars and euros as EU referendum looms

Gold and oil prices are holding steady. Gold is worth about $1,270 per ounce while oil is around $49.50 a barrel.

Related: Fear & Greed Index

2. Alibaba in the spotlight: Wall Street may pay extra close attention to Alibaba (BABA) Thursday after founder Jack Ma published an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal saying Alibaba has "zero tolerance for those who rip off other people's intellectual property." He said his company is committed to fighting counterfeits.

Alibaba has been accused of failing to crack down hard enough on fake goods sold over its hugely popular online shopping platforms.

3. Earnings and economics: The two key companies reporting earnings Thursday include BlackBerry (BBRY) and Accenture (ACN). Both will post their results ahead of the open.

On the economic front, the U.S. Department of Labor will post its weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The Census Bureau will post U.S. new home sales data for the month of May at 10 a.m. The last couple of new home reports have shown surprising strength, with sales figures outpacing expectations. Prices have also been strong, with the April report showing the average price of a new home rose by almost 10% compared to last year.

In Europe, the latest Markit PMI report on services and manufacturing in the eurozone shows business activity is growing at its slowest rate in over a year.

The June report blamed "political and economic uncertainty [for] dampening business activity."

Related: CNNMoney's Tech30

4. Potential market mover -- Tesla: Shares in Tesla (TSLA) are continuing to slip premarket after falling by 10.5% Wednesday. Investors are unimpressed by the automaker's bid to takeover SolarCity (SCTY).

5. Wednesday market recap: Wall Street trading was rather muted on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each declined 0.2%.

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