Futures on major US stock indices point to a lower opening on Thursday ahead of economic data including final estimates for fourth quarter GDP and initial jobless claims. 

Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.28 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.23 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.25 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on GDP numbers and jobless claims to understand the current situation in the world’s largest economy.

The commerce department is due to report final estimate of real GDP growth for the fourth quarter before the markets open. According to consensus estimates the GDP growth rose slightly to touch 3.1 percent annually compared to 3 percent growth in a preliminary estimate.

“The final estimate of real GDP growth in Q4 is expected to be revised slightly higher to 3.1 percent annual rate as revised retail sales figures suggested slightly more consumer spending than originally estimated. However, residential investment spending may be trimmed slightly,” a note from Credit Agricole Research said.

The department of labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. The economists forecast initial jobless claims will be 350,000 for the week ended March 24 against 348,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

On the corporate front, Red Hat shares will be in focus. After market closes on Wednesday, the company reported fourth quarter adjusted net profit of $57.2 million or $0.29 per share, up from $51.4 million or $0.26 per share in the same period a year-earlier, while analysts’ expected net income of $0.27 per share.

On Wednesday, US stocks ended lower as sliding oil and metals prices gave investors a reason to sell commodity-related shares and official data showed that new orders for US durables increased only modestly in February and trailed economists’ estimates.

European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 40.82 points, DAX30 down by 72.03 points and CAC 40 down by 36.06 points.