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August 14, 2014

Stocks: Futures lower, Europe stalls

There's more bad news for the global economy Thursday.

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

U.S. stock futures were slightly weaker.

1. Europe's recovery stalls: Germany shrank and France registered zero growth in the second quarter, according to GDP figures released Thursday. Data for the eurozone as a whole will be published at 5 a.m. ET, and is expected to show the region's economy stagnated in the three months to June 30. European markets fell in early trading.

"The fear is that the economy is heading for recession once again, not helped by events in Ukraine and the potential for further sanctions to negatively impact in the current quarter," wrote Simon Smith, chief economist at FxPro.

Asian markets ended mixed.

2. Stocks to watch: Shares of Cisco Systems fell in after-hours trading after the IT firm said it plans to lay off up to 6,000 employees, which makes up about 8% of its current global workforce.

3. Earnings and data: Kohl's and Wal-Mart will report earnings before the opening bell. J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, will report after the close.

The U.S. Labor Department will post weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET.

4. Wednesday market recap: U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday. The Nasdaq jumped more than 1% and the S&P 500 was up about 0.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 91 points, landing back in positive territory for the year.

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