U.S. stock index futures briefly pared losses on Thursday after weekly jobless data showed the number of U.S. workers filing new benefit claims fell for the second week in a row.

* Futures were still weighed down by an earnings forecast from retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc , which threatened to halt a six-day streak of gains for the Dow industrials.

* Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped last week to a seasonally adjusted 502,000, the lowest since January, from a revised 514,000 the prior week. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected initial claims to fall to 510,000 from an initially reported 512,000.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)