Stock index futures fell on Thursday as concerns grew that recent share declines caused by euro-zone turmoil in the handling of the sovereign debt crises could lead to a wider correction.
The recent slide has dragged the S&P 500 index 8.4 percent lower from its 2010 closing high on April 23 and pushed the benchmark index into negative territory for the year on Wednesday.
The euro fell one percent briefly against the dollar to hit the day's lows, tracking stocks lower as concerns grew about policy disarray in the euro zone.
The uncertainty in Europe has caused the dollar to strengthen against the euro and diverted attention from a solid quarter of corporate results in the United States.
Right now, obviously the good corporate news is not having much of an effect on the market, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York. It is all about the technical aspect at this time, and the strengthening of the dollar, which has cut investors' appetite for risk.
S&P futures sharply extended losses after breaking below the 200-day moving average of around 1100, a key support level.
S&P 500 futures fell 14.4 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures dropped 113 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 28.5 points.
After the closing bell on Wednesday, Applied Materials Inc , the world's largest producer of chipmaking gear, posted a second-quarter profit as customers added capacity to take advantage of growing demand for consumer electronics, especially in emerging markets. Its shares fell 2.1 percent to $12.75 in premarket trade.
Top U.S. office products retailer Staples Inc gave a lackluster outlook for the rest of its fiscal year, assuming only a modest U.S. economic recovery.
Sears Holdings Corp's first-quarter profit slipped 38 percent, hit by weaker margins and slightly higher costs.
Other companies set to post earnings on Thursday include Gamestop Corp Ross Stores Inc , Salesforce.com Inc , Intuit , Computer Sciences Corp , and Compuware Corp .
Data on tap for Thursday includes weekly claims for jobless benefits at 8:30 a.m., as well as for the Conference Board's report on April leading economic indicators and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's May gauge of manufacturing activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region at 10 a.m.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect jobless claims to dip to 440,000 in the latest week, a 0.2 percent increase in leading indicators and a rise to 22 in the Philadelphia Fed index.
Financial stocks will garner attention after a setback for the Obama administration on Wednesday, as Senate Democrats failed to muster enough votes to end debate on the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s, forcing another vote.
May individual equity options and some options on stock indexes stop trading at Friday's close and expire on Saturday, which may increase volatility.
European stocks fell late on Thursday morning on persistent concerns that other European countries may follow Germany's footsteps to ban short-selling in some financial instruments, traders said.
Worries over the euro zone's debt crisis hammered Asian stocks to their lowest in more than eight months.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)