Stock index futures edged lower on Thursday as unemployment claims were higher than expected and Wal-Mart reported disappointing U.S. sales.   

S&P 500 Index futures fell 0.43 percent at 8:53 am.   Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.31 percent.

Unemployment claims of 473,000 were reported at 8:30 am Thursday morning.  It was higher than the expected figure of 440,000 and higher than last week's figure of 442,000. 

Higher energy prices pushed the Producer Price Index higher than forecasts in a separate report.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart topped analyst expectations Thursday morning when it reported an adjusted quarterly EPS of $1.17.  The 2009 adjusted EPS was $3.66. 

However, sales at the world's largest retailer sales fell by 0.5 percent in the U.S. and the company's earnings were largely buoyed by growth in international sales.  It also issued a subdued guidance of $0.81 to $0.85 for the first quarter of 2010. 

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is trading down 1.68 percent in pre-marking trading.