RTTNews - US stocks were aiming to claw back some of the big losses from the previous session Thursday morning, but early signals were pointing to a lackluster open.

Traders are likely to keep a close eye on the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report along with its report on wholesale price inflation in the month of April.

As of 6 am ET, the Dow Futures were down 15 points, while the NASDAQ and S&P Futures were down a few points.

Stocks saw substantial weakness during trading on Wednesday, as disappointing retail sales offset some of the recent optimism about the outlook for the economy.

The Dow fell 184.22 points or 2.2 percent to 8,284.89, the Nasdaq closed down 51.73 points or 3 percent at 1,664.19 and the S&P 500 fell 24.43 points or 2.7 percent to 883.92. The Dow is down more than 5 percent year-to-date.

Retail giant Wal-Mart will issue its first-quarter scorecard Thursday morning, with analysts forecasting earnings of $0.77 per share on revenues of $96.62 billion. In the year-ago period, the company earned $0.76 per share on net sales of $94.1 billion.

American International Group Inc. (AIG) plans to spin off its Asian life insurance unit in a US$5 billion to US$10 billion Hong Kong initial public offering in the first quarter of next year, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing person familiar with the situation.

The Journal also reported that a group of 18 U.S. and foreign financial institutions and affiliates, including Bank of America Corp. (BAC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), and UBS AG (UBS), have sued bond insurer MBIA, Inc. (MBI) over the fraudulent splitting of its guarantee business into two under restructuring in February.

American Express Co. (AXP) said Wednesday that it has sold $3.0 billion of non-guaranteed senior debt, comprising $1.25 billion of 7.25% five-year notes and $1.75 billion of 8.125% 10-year notes.

The New York-based credit card company, which was granted bank-holding status in November last year, said it expects to use the net proceeds from the sale for general corporate purposes, which may include partial funding of the repurchase of $3.4 billion of preferred shares issued to the U.S. Treasury as part of the Capital Purchase Program.

Sony Corp. (SNE) reported fourth quarter net loss of US$1.68 billion or US$1.68 per share, on revenue of US$15.55 billion. Sales and operating revenues dropped 22%.

Communications solutions and services provider BT Group Plc lowered its dividend and said it would cut an additional 15,000 jobs next year after hefty contract and financial review charges at its troubled global services segment dragged down the company to a loss in the fourth quarter.

The markets across the Asia-Pacific region tumbled on Thursday. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 247 points or 2.64% to 9,094, the lowest closing in about two weeks.

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