Stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday after the number of workers receiving jobless benefits hit another record and consumer bellwether Wal-Mart reported flat quarterly profits.

The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose to 637,000 and was more than expected in the latest week, according to government data, pushed up by plant shutdowns related to automaker Chrysler's bankruptcy.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world's biggest retailer, reported flat earnings in line with analysts' estimates. Its chief executive said overall business was stable, adding that until unemployment eased, it remained cautiously optimistic about a timetable for the economic recovery. The shares ticked down 0.3 percent to $49.90 in premarket trade.

The whisper out there was that we would likely to see a (jobless) number below, or better than expectations, so a lower number, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management, Bedford Hills, New York.

We'd been hearing that for several days, and other economic data seemed to point to that. That was clearly a disappointment here.

S&P 500 futures fell 3.4 points and were 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 shed 19 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 1.25 points.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy, Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)