U.S. stock index futures point to a slightly lower open Thursday ahead of the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims data and Census Bureau's reports on housing starts and building permits.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.09 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 index were up 0.07 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.08 percent.
Investors are likely to focus on the weekly U.S. jobless claims data to be reported Thursday. The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is expected to rise to 365,000 for the week ending August 11, up from 361,000 in the previous week.
Housing starts, measuring the change in the annualized number of residential buildings that began construction each month, will be published Thursday. It is expected to show a fall to 757,000 in July, down from 760,000 in June.
The Census Bureau will report data on building permits, which measure the change in the number of new building permits issued by the government each month. The report is expected to show a rise to 770,000 in July, up from 760,000 in May.
On Wednesday, the U.S. stocks were mixed as investors remained in a watchful mode awaiting the Federal Reserve to announce stimulus measures to support the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average marginally dropped 0.06 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.11 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.46 percent.
Major European indices were mixed as investors remained cautious waiting for the central bank to announce monetary easing measures to reduce the borrowing costs of economies in the euro zone. London's FTSE 100 was up 8.87 points, Germany's DAX 30 Index fell 1.79 points and France's CAC 40 declined 4.07 points.
Asian stocks were also mixed as investors continued to be watchful of the moves of the central banks in announcing the monetary easing measures to lift the weakening economic growth.