Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are set to open higher, while crude oil prices are down slightly, hovering just above $60 a barrel as talks over ending Iran’s sanctions enter their crucial phase.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Tory Newmyer and it looks at labor federation AFL-CIO’s decision to lift a freeze on political contributions that it imposed in March in a move meant to pressure Democrats to vote against free trade measures. The reversal comes after the Senate passed President Obama’s Pacific Rim trade deal.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Greek talks reach critical stage
European leaders will meet again in Brussels later Thursday with a take-it-or-leave-it offer to Greece’s government if it wants to rescue its bailout deal and avoid default Finance Ministers have largely rejected the proposals presented by Greece on Monday, due to concerns that they rely too much on new tax rises that would harm the economy, rather than structural reforms on issues such as the country’s pension system. Greece’s bailout expires June 30th, and will leave the country with no realistic way of meeting debt payments to the IMF and ECB over the next few weeks. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has accused the creditors again of blackmail, saying that the main aim of some elements in the dispute is to bring down his recently-elected government.
2. Nike earnings
Nike (NKE) reports its fourth-quarter financial results this afternoon. The sports apparel and footwear giant is expected to outpace Wall Street’s expectations in terms of quarterly profit and sales, thanks to strong demand for athletic apparel and the growth of Nike’s e-commerce business. The company can also expect a boost for future quarterly revenue from Nike’s strong sponsorship presence at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup along with a recent exclusive merchandising deal signed with the NBA.
3. More earnings: Books and Motorhomes
Other companies reporting quarterly results today include book retailer Barnes & Noble (BKS), which is expected to report a decline in its fourth-quarter sales — a drop that would represent the company’s fourth-straight quarterly decline — as the retailer faces the increasing threat of online rivals as well as underwhelming demand for its Nook e-readers. Meanwhile, Winnebago Industries (WGO), the country’s largest motorhome manufacturer, reports third-quarter numbers this morning. Winnebago has seen a drop-off in demand for its more expensive motorhomes, which could result in the company reporting a decline in average selling prices for the vehicles.
4. Weekly jobless claims
The Labor Department will release a preliminary look at the number of U.S. workers who filed new applications for unemployment benefits last week. That number is expected to have increased to 272,000 last week from 267,000 jobless claims the previous week. Even with the slight increase, it should be the 16th straight week that the number of claims stayed below 300,000.
5. NBA Draft
Tonight, the 30 teams that comprise the NBA will meet in Brooklyn, N.Y. to place their bets on the future by participating in the annual NBA Draft. Former collegiate and international players selected during the two-round event will set themselves up to sign lucrative professional contracts, though the size of those rookie deals will vary. Last year’s top overall pick, Andrew Wiggins (who was drafted by Cleveland and then traded to Minnesota), signed a rookie contract that paid him $5.5 million in its first year. By comparison, the last pick of the draft’s first round will likely make less than 20% of that total in his first year.
— Reuters contributed to this report.