Stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.1 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.4 percent at 0836 GMT (4:36 a.m. ET).
Applied Materials Inc , the world's largest producer of chipmaking gear, will be in focus after posting a second-quarter profit as customers added capacity to take advantage of growing demand for consumer electronics, especially in emerging markets. The company's shares traded in Frankfurt were up 0.6 percent.
On the M&A front, Symantec Corp agreed to buy VeriSign Inc's widely used technology for securing payments over the Internet in a deal worth $1.28 billion, the companies said on Wednesday. Shares of VeriSign Inc gained 2.9 percent to $28.81 in extended trade on Wednesday on the news, while Symantec shares were little changed at $15.62.
VeriSign stock traded in Frankfurt were up 1.3 percent while Symantec shares traded in Frankfurt were down 2.1 percent.
Energy stocks will also be in the spotlight after a group of U.S. lawmakers said they would recommend BP be ordered to idle its Atlantis oil and gas platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico until federal regulators can prove the region's second biggest rig is operating safely.
In a setback for the Obama administration, Senate Democrats failed to muster enough votes on Wednesday to end debate on the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the 1930s, delaying a vote on passage.
As many as 20 bidders are interested in buying U.S. software company Novell Inc , which has put itself up for sale and is this week accepting bids, the Wall Street Journal reported.
European stocks were up 0.4 percent in morning trade, led by a rebound in recently-hammered banks such as Societe Generale and Banco Santander , but gains were fragile as investors remained jittery over policy disarray in the euro zone after Germany's surprise move to ban naked short sales of a range of financial assets.
Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday financial markets were acting irrationally over the euro area's debt problems and while he was concerned about the fall in the euro, immediate action was not needed, while French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said she did not share German Chancellor Angela Merkel's view that the euro was in danger.
Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate, has reached a deal in principle to restructure $23.5 billion in debt with the core lenders holding 60 percent of the exposure.
On the macro front, investors will keep an eye on data for weekly claims for jobless benefits, as well as for the Conference Board's report on April leading economic indicators.
On the earnings side, Gamestop Corp. Ross Stores , Staples , Salesforce.com, Intuit , Computer Sciences Corp., and Compuware Corp. are among the companies due to report results on Thursday.
After the bell on Wednesday, shares of Hot Topic fell 8 percent to $6.00 following its quarterly results. Shares of Gymboree Corp also dropped following results.
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday as Germany's ban on naked short sales on some stocks and bonds sparked a fresh wave of uncertainty and risk aversion among anxious investors.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slid 66.58 points, or 0.63 percent, to 10,444.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 5.75 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,115.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 18.89 points, or 0.82 percent, to 2,298.37.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Karen Foster)