The markets were generally optimistic following news out of Europe that the central bank would keep interest rates at record lows of 0.75 percent. Initial unemployment claims in the U.S. edged very slightly downward, adding a dash of positive sentiment to a relatively flat Thursday morning.
U.S. futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: +0.05%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.22%.
Sprint (NYSE:S) faced selling pressure in the pre-market following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results. The telecom company slightly widened its losses to a net $1.3 billion, or $0.44 per share, compared to $0.43 per share in the year-ago period. Also concerning was a net loss of 243,000 subscribers for the quarter, and a revenue bump to $8.72 billion that was shy of expectations. The results show earnings in the flagship wireless segment, but also highlights the massive cost of upgrading its network.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) simmered down to pre-market gains around 4 percent after surging as much as 7.6 percent on news that its CEO, Ben Verwaayen, will step down as soon as a replacement is found. The announcement comes following its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 report, which revealed an annual net loss of 1.37 billion euros ($1.86 billion), or 0.61 euros ($0.83) per share. Shares of the telecom company have come down over 70 percent since Verwaayen took over, and his departure is being seen as a turn-around opportunity.