Futures on major U.S. indices point to modestly lower opening on Thursday ahead of key weekly U.S. jobs data and pending home sales report.
Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.09 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 0.09 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are down 0.04 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on initial jobless claims, Chicago Purchasing Managers Index and pending home sales data, which will give more clues about the strength of the economic recovery.
The Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. The economists forecast initial jobless claims to be 416,000 for the week ended Dec 25 against 420,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.
The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator that looks at contracts signed for existing homes, is due to be released after the markets open and is expected to show that November sales increased by 2.1 percent continuing the prior gain of 10.4 percent in the previous month.
On the corporate front, Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings will be on focus after the U.S. FDA approved its Fortesta Gel for the treatment of low testosterone (hypogonadism), a medical condition characterised by low sex drive, poor erections, and depression, among others. The company expects to introduce Fortesta Gel in the U.S. in early 2011.
Despite a last-hour market sell-off, stocks gained modestly in thin trading volume on Wednesday as the major indices look to be on course for a strong December rally.
The euro advanced 0.17 percent to 1.3248 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.11 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures declined 0.53 percent to $90.64/barrel ahead of inventory data and gold futures declined 0.16 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 3.77 points, DAX30 down by 73.93 points and CAC 40 down by 27.66 points.