Stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of figures for weekly jobless claims and other indicators that investors hoped would show the recovery was gaining traction.
Besides focusing on the data, investors will also look for what reception Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will get from lawmakers when he testifies before two Congressional panels on the Obama administration's proposed financial regulatory reform.
With the battered financial system still on the mend, investors are waiting to see if any of the proposed measures encumber the sector's recovery.
The market is struggling to regain the firm footing it had since March, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.
There's fear of a double-dip, he added, referring to concerns that the economic recovery may prove to be weaker than thought and unsustainable.
S&P 500 futures fell 1.30 points and were about 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 were up 11 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 5 points.
A government report on weekly jobless claims is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with a Reuters survey of economists forecasting a slight decrease to 600,000 initial claims for benefits, from 601,000 previously, and 6.85 million continuing claims.
A June gauge of manufacturing in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, the Philadelphia Fed business index, is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), with a Reuters survey predicting a reading of minus 17.0 versus minus 22.6 percent in May.
The Conference Board is also set to release its May index of leading indicators, a forward-looking measure of the U.S. economy, which is expected to show an increase of 0.9 percent from April's rise of 1.0 percent.
Geithner's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee is due to start at 9:30 a.m. EDT. His testimony before the House Financial Services Committee is set for 1 p.m. EDT.
Investors are weighing what would be the implications for banks and other financial institutions from the proposed reforms that President Barack Obama unveiled on Wednesday
The issue on the market is how far we come down, Bakhos said, noting that the benchmark S&P 500 narrowly averted closing below its 200-day moving average on Wednesday, which would have marked a key technical breach since the start of the recent rally.
There's no fresh positive news. We are not going to overlook hiccups in the economic data.
Research In Motion
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)