Stock index futures were little changed in light volume on Thursday ahead of a busy day for economic data as Wall Street approached a fourth straight week of gains.
Energy shares will be in the spotlight as oil prices ticked up to a 26-month high above $90 per barrel, boosted by unusually cold weather in the United States and Europe and a surge in demand that fueled the biggest drop in crude stockpiles in more than a decade.
The Commerce Department releases November personal income and consumption data as well as durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expected a rise of 0.2 percent in November income and a 0.5 percent increase in consumption versus 0.4 percent previously. Also, economists see a fall in orders of 0.5 percent versus a drop of 3.4 percent in October.
Also at 8:30 a.m., the Labor Department reports first-time jobless claims for the week ended December 18. Economists forecast a total of 420,000 new filings, unchanged from the prior week.
There's lots of data in the market today, I just don't know if anybody is going to be at their desks to trade off it, said Kim Caughey Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.
Other data due later Thursday include the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report at 9:55 a.m. EST (1455 GMT) as well as new home sales for November at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT)
Volume is expected to be light on the last trading day before the Christmas holiday.
S&P 500 futures dipped 0.9 point and were flat in terms of 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 fell 1 point, and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 4.75 points.
The S&P 500 rose Wednesday to its highest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers more than two years ago, led by bank stocks.
We're not as convinced as the market is right now, and I don't think we're alone, Forrest said. I'm glad to see stocks go up, but I don't think a lot of them have a lot of merit underneath, looking at their anticipated earnings growth.
Micron Technology Inc
Defense contractor Raytheon Co
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)