Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Thursday include: Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NASDAQ: JOSB), Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG), The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR), The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ).market news Morning News

Market level

U.S.:  DJIA 15889.77(-0.16), S&P 500 1792.81(-0.31%), NASDAQ 4038.00 (0.02%)

Europe: FTSE 6508.45(-0.02%), DAX 9151.29(0.12%), CAC 40 4150.05 (0.04%).

Asia Pacific: NIKKEI 15177.49(-1.50%), SHANGHAI 2247.06 (-0.21%), HSI    23712.57(-0.07%), ASX 5196.88 (-1.34%), KOSPI 1984.77(-0.10%).

Commodities: Oil 97.43 (0.24%), NAT GAS 3.98 (0.51%), Gold 1233.30 (-1.19%), Silver 19.45(-1.64%), Wheat 643.00 (-0.66%), Corn 422.75(-0.65%).

Currency: EUR/USD 1.3596 (0.02%), GBP/USD 1.6351 (-0.19%), USD/JPY 102.09 (-0.24%).

10 year Treasury bond: 2.84 (0.003).

Market & economic update

U.S. markets may open flat — Dow Jones industrial average index futures dropped 0.03%, Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures added 0.03% and Nasdaq index futures fell 0.1%, on Thursday. A string of stronger economic reports have raised expectations that Fed may trim the stimulus sooner than expected.

European markets decline — European shares continued the decline on Thursday as investors sold the stocks expecting stronger economic data, which has raised concerns over the possibility for faster than expected pullback of equity friendly stimulus. By 0831 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was dropped 2.3 points, or 0.2%, at 1271.29 points.

Asian markets down — The Nikkei declined 1.5% on Thursday, continuing to trade near lows that it touched the previous day as investors remained cautious before the Friday U.S. job data, which will give more insight into when Federal Reserve might pull back its stimulus. The Hang Seng Index closed down 0.1% at 23,712.6 points, falling for a third consecutive day after closing on Monday at its highest in more than 31 months.

Stocks to watch

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (NASDAQ:JOSB)

Jos.A. Bank is expected to post earnings of 50 cents per share in the third quarter, according to consensus report by FactSet. The company has discontinued its $2.3 billion offer for rival Men’s Wearhouse, in November, and became a takeover target when Men’s Wearhouse offered $1.5 billion.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG)

Dollar General is expected to report third quarter earnings of 70 cents per share. According to Bob Summers, an analyst at Susquehanna, the value proposition of Dollar General remains impressive in an uncertain economic scenario, and the company is well positioned to take  market share forward. The analyst stated that near-term and unknown margin challenges would continue, but will not affect the long-term growth prospects.

The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR)

Kroger Co. is expected to log earnings of 53 cents per share in the third quarter. Ajay Jain, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, said that the company’s recent operating and financial performance has been extraordinarily impressive, and fiscal 2014 would also witness strong growth on the back of additional contributions from Harris Teeter-related synergies

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS

The board of directors at Walt Disney has increased the annual cash dividend by 15% to 86 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on January 16th to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 16. Shares of Disney rose 0.6% in extended trading session.

Zumiez Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ)

Zumiez Inc. is expected to post third-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share. The company performed better than the analysts’ expectations last quarter, on the back of strong top line growth, inflated margins and higher comparable store sales.