Stock futures were poised for a slightly lower open on Thursday after the government said new jobless claims rose more than expected and a slew of big corporate earnings reports, including UPS, 3M, Dow Chemical and Merck.

The number of workers filing new jobless claims rose by 11,000 last week, indicating the labor market remained fragile despite signs of an economic recovery.

It sends mixed messages. I'm not sure if long-term claims declined because of some improvement or workers became discouraged or unemployment benefits ran out, Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at Oakbrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

S&P 500 futures were down 2.8 points and were slightly below 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 4 points, and Nasdaq futures slid 3.75 points.

United Parcel Service Inc fell 1 percent to $56.65 in premarket trade after reporting earnings fell 43 percent.

Travelers Cos Inc , the largest U.S. publicly traded property-casualty insurer, said profit jumped fourfold and approved a new $6 billion share buyback plan. The stock rose 3.6 percent to $49.75 in premarket trade.

Other Dow components reporting earnings included AT&T Inc, up 3.5 percent to $26.84 premarket, and Merck & Co Inc , up 0.6 percent to $32.87. Also, 3M Co added 2.2 percent to $78.

McDonald's Corp gained 3.5 percent to $60.38 after the fast-food chain posted stronger-than-expected income and said global comparable sales rose.

Dow Chemical Co rose about 1 percent to $25.70 after the company said third-quarter net income jumped 66 percent as it sold assets and cut costs, but revenue dipped.

U.S.-traded shares of Ericsson slid 8 percent to $9.91 premarket after the mobile network gearmaker's results missed forecasts.

The Conference Board is to report on leading economic indicators for September at 10 a.m. EDT. Economists look for a 0.8 percent rise compared with a 0.6 percent increase in August.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; additional reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)