U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.03 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.03 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.06 percent at 4:40 a.m. EST.

* EBay will be in the spotlight after the online marketplace provided investors with a bullish 2011 profit outlook after the holiday quarter showed signs it is delivering a promised turnaround, as improvements in its buyer experience helped boost sales at its marketplaces unit. The company's stock traded in Frankfurt was up 1.8 percent.

* Seagate Technology Plc reported sharply lower quarterly profit on flagging demand for its computer hard drives and forecast a dip in profit margins this quarter as selling prices continue to erode.

* Ford Motor is in talks with its Chinese partner, Chongqing Changan Automobile Co <000625.SZ>, to export China-made Ford vehicles to emerging markets, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

* The top executive of Procter & Gamble
will take corporate America's case for a lower tax rate to U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, and also call for an end to taxation of foreign-earned profits.

* On the earnings front, investors awaited a flurry of results from companies such as Google , Johnson Controls , Morgan Stanley and Advanced Micro Devices .

* Google is expected to report a 22 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue thanks to a busy holiday season, though it will face questions about long-term growth.

* On the macro front, investors awaited weekly jobless claims, leading indicators for December and existing home sales for December.

* Airline companies will be in focus after Australia's largest airline Qantas Airways flagged an industry-wide rise in airfares to help offset soaring oil prices that threaten to stall the global aviation sector's recovery.

* The euro slipped against the dollar on Thursday as weaker global shares stifled appetite for higher-risk currencies, prompting investors to book profits on the single currency's rally to a two-month high.

* Japan's Nikkei average fell on Thursday as weaker-than-expected earnings by key U.S. technology and banking firms, strong Chinese growth data and a weaker dollar prompted investors to lock in profits.

* European stocks were down slightly in morning trade, extending the previous sell-off, led lower by cyclical mining and tech shares, which have strongly gained over the past few months.

* The S&P 500 suffered its biggest decline in nearly two months on Wednesday as disappointing results from Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo put a damper on the rally.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 12.64 points, or 0.11 percent, to 11,825.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 13.10 points, or 1.01 percent, to 1,281.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 40.49 points, or 1.46 percent, to 2,725.36.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hans Peters)