Wall Street was set for a lower start on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq futures were down 0.4 to 1 percent at 1010 GMT.

Earnings news is likely to be in the spotlight, with fourth-quarter results expected from Expedia Inc. , Kraft Foods, PepsiCo Sprint Nextel Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber.

After the market close on Wednesday network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc's shares sank 9.3 percent in extended trading after CEO John Chambers warned of dwindling public spending and weaker margins from tough competition.

After the bell Whole Foods Market Inc surged 8.1 percent to $58.11 after it raised its full-year profit view reported and quarterly earnings that topped expectations.

Looking at economic news, investors will watch the U.S. weekly jobless claims at 1330 GMT, with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting a total of 410,000 new filings compared with 415,000 in the prior week.

At 1500 GMT is the release of U.S. Wholesale Inventories for December, with economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to rise 0.7 percent versus a November decrease of 0.2 percent.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Google Inc and Facebook Inc, plus others, have held low level takeover talks with Twitter that give the Internet sensation a value as high as $10 billion.

According to two people familiar with the matter, wireless operator Clearwire Corp is planning on shifting its sales strategy toward wholesale clients away from retail consumer services.

On Thursday Republican lawmakers at a hearing plan to scrutinize new costs for manufacturers, farmers and other types of end user businesses that use derivatives to hedge their risks. The upcoming regulation on capital and margin requirements is a key concern.

The computer security firm McAfee Inc said in a report hackers working in China broke into the computer systems of five multinational oil and gas companies to steal bidding plans and other critical proprietary information.

On Wednesday, investors took profits after a recent rise in U.S. stocks, but a late-hour rally in Bank of America shares helped the Dow squeeze out its eighth straight day of gains.

European stocks fell 0.9 percent hit by weaker-than-expected earnings news from Swiss bank Credit Suisse , Danish banking group Danske and Diageo , the world's biggest spirits group.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Hans Peters)