1. Change at Unilever: Unilever CEO Paul Polman will retire at the end of the year after a decade in charge of one of the world's biggest consumer goods businesses.
He will be succeeded by Alan Jope, current head of the group's beauty and personal care business.
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The move comes after Unilever was forced to scrap a plan to move its headquarters out of the United Kingdom because of an investor revolt. Shares in Unilever (UL) were trading slightly higher on Thursday.
2. Fed moves: US stock markets staged a dramatic rally on Wednesday after Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell hinted at a willingness to pause rate hikes next year.
The Fed has been trying to strike a balance between not moving too fast and risking shortening the US economy's longest running expansion versus not moving too slowly and risking the economy overheating.
Stock markets have slumped recently in part because investors are worried that the Fed is hiking interest rates too aggressively.
The next big indicator could come Thursday: The central bank will release minutes from its November meeting at 2 pm. ET.
US crude oil prices dipped below $50 on Thursday. It's the first time oil prices have sunk below the key psychological barrier in over a year.
The industry alliance has been rocked by the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who has been ousted as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors following allegations of financial misconduct.
The companies released a joint statement on Thursday, saying they remain "fully committed" to the alliance that Ghosn forged. Ghosn has denied wrongdoing, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis will publish data on personal income for October at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Swiss GDP unexpectedly dropped 0.2% in the third quarter because of weakness in exports and manufacturing. The downturn reflects a wider economic slowdown in Europe.