Stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 closed at a 29-month high as investors looked ahead to a new round of data and corporate earnings.
On a busy day for earnings, Procter & Gamble Co
Both P&G and AT&T are Dow components. Caterpillar Inc
Overseas, ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut Japan's long-term debt rating by one notch to AA minus, saying the government lacked a coherent plan to tackle its mounting debt.
Initial jobless claims are seen rising to 405,000 in the latest week, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week. Data on December durable goods, which are seen rising, is also expected. Both are due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT), December pending home sales data will come later in the morning.
S&P 500 futures slid 0.6 point and were even with 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 added 9 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1 point.
A pair of Nasdaq stalwarts will report results after the bell. Microsoft Corp
On Wednesday, gains in technology and commodity shares helped lift markets as investors largely ignored the U.S. Federal Reserve's lukewarm assessment of the economy. The Dow hit the 12,000 level for the first time since June 2008, though it later fell below that level.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)