U.S. shares were expected to fall on Thursday, after ending only marginally higher in the previous session, following the Federal Reserve's statement that it was keeping rates close to zero for an extended period.

At 4:23 a.m. EST futures for the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were down between 0.2 and 0.9 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares was down 1.1 percent at 973.93 points, ahead of rate decisions due from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

Initial weekly jobless claims, due at 1330 GMT, are set to fall to 523,000, from 530,000 in the previous week, according to a Reuters poll.

Retail chains are expected to post positive same-store sales results for October, but investors hoping for a clear signal on an economic recovery could be disappointed. Sales are expected to have risen 1.2 percent overall, according to Thomson Reuters data. That compares with a 4.1 percent fall in October 2008, just weeks into the global financial markets collapse.

Data on wholesale inventories is also due.

Food maker Sara Lee is expected to report a rise in earnings, while media giant CBS may report a decline.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is among other companies reporting.

The Senate vote unanimously on Wednesday to extend aid for jobless workers and broaden tax breaks for homebuyers and businesses in a bid to breathe life into the struggling U.S. economy.

After the closing bell Cisco Systems Inc gained 3.1 percent after the network equipment vendor said quarterly revenue rose more than expected from the previous quarter. The company also said its board authorized up to $10 billion in additional stock buybacks.

After reporting results, shares in News Corp and Qualcomm rose in after-hours trading, while those in Whole Foods Market and Murphy Oil fell.

U.S. stocks rallied but lost steam on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would keep rates near zero for an extended period even as it expressed confidence in the economic recovery. The market was unable to hold gains as it succumbed to selling pressure in the last half-hour of trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 0.3 percent, after rising as much as 1.6 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> edged up 0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Greg Mahlich)