U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Thursday, with investors bracing for data on the labor market and housing that could determine the direction of the market.

Technology shares were in focus after Goldman Sachs lowered its coverage view on the U.S. semiconductor equipment sector to cautious from neutral, citing looming excess supply on account of recent strong capital expenditure levels.

Intel Corp shares fell 2.1 percent to $23.37 in premarket trade after Goldman Sachs downgraded the chipmaker to sell from neutral. Applied Materials shares fell 2.1 percent to $14.19.

The Labor Department will release U.S. weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT). A Reuters survey forecast

420,000 new filings, down from 434,000 in the prior week.

The National Association of Realtors will report on existing-home sales for April and the Conference Board will release its index of leading economic indicators, both at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).

S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 37 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.

Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday after a rebound in commodity prices and Dell's strong earnings, but stocks still face headwinds.

I'm still of the belief that a downward trend with lower highs has begun, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

From the perspective of the always fickle individual investor, the sharp commodity pullback, which modestly shook the tree in stocks over the past few weeks, has gotten them more cautious.

Oil prices firmed on Thursday, holding on to gains after rebounding the previous day on data showing a drop in crude stockpiles in the United States.

LinkedIn shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange . The shares sold at the top of an already raised price range in an initial public offering on Wednesday, signaling investors are eager for social networking companies.

Glencore , the world's largest diversified commodities trader, made a steady market debut, with shares trading just above the widely expected launch price.

European shares were up in morning trade, led by commodity stocks after Glencore's IPO helped boost sentiment in the sector.

(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)