U.S. stock index futures declined Thursday morning, pointing to a lower opening on Wall Street ahead of a decisive European Union summit in Brussels, where EU leaders will meet to tackle the euro zone debt crisis head on. The summit will take place June 28-29.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.63 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index were down 0.59 percent and futures on the Nasdaq 100 index were down 0.5 percent.
Investors are keenly watching the EU summit, in which leaders are expected to submit a road map for the banking and fiscal union for the next 10 years. Markets will want to see a radical change in the European vision and decision making process along with concrete measures to end the debt crisis.
Investors are likely to focus on weekly Dept. of Labor's U.S. jobless claims data report. The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time during the past week, is expected to show a decline to 385,000 in the week ending June 16, down from 387,000 recorded in the previous week.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis will publish its final first quarter gross domestic product report Thursday, which is expected to show no change from the previous estimate of 1.9 percent.
U.S. markets rose Wednesday following encouraging economic data. The National Association of Realtors' housing report showed that pending home sales rose to 5.9 percent in May, up from a 5.5 percent decline in April. The U.S. Census Bureau stated that durable goods orders increased by 0.5 percent in May, up from a 0.2 percent decrease in April. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.74 percent, the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.74 percent.
Major European indices were in the green, but investors remained watchful ahead of the EU summit. London’s FTSE 100 rose by 4.23 points, Germany's DAX 30 Index was up 6.52 points and France's CAC 40 advanced by 3.77 points.
Asian markets rose Thursday following global cues as market players were encouraged by the positive U.S. economic data.