Wall Street was set to open lower on Thursday as investors fretted about the pace of the economic recovery, though a better-than-expected drop in initial jobless claims provided comfort.

Stock index futures cut losses after the jobless data, a welcome relief after recent weak economic news. On Wednesday, the government reported a sharp decline in new home sales, while the Federal Reserve acknowledged the faltering pace of the economic recovery, underscoring investor worries.

We've entered a period where recent economic data has been somewhat disappointing, primarily in housing and employment. At least today you're seeing decent numbers on the employment front, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.

New U.S. claims for jobless benefits dropped by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000, while orders for long-lasting manufactured goods excluding transportation rose in May.

Shares of Nike Inc fell 2.6 percent in premarket trading after the footwear and clothing maker cautioned that the strong dollar and higher costs would weigh on earnings and sales. Pfizer Inc lost 2 percent after it suspended clinical trials of its experimental arthritis drug.

S&P 500 futures fell 5.6 points and were below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures lost 33 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures shed 11.25 points.

Facing a self-imposed Thursday evening deadline, lawmakers must still sort out the most controversial provisions in a historic overhaul of U.S. financial rules.

Democrats in charge of the process appear likely to retain tough restrictions on banks' trading and investment activities that could crimp profits. Shares of major banks were modestly lower premarket.

Hasbro was up about 4 percent but pared earlier gains after CNBC reported the company was not in buyout talks. The Wall Street Journal said Providence Equity Partners was in preliminary talks over a leveraged buyout.

Apple Inc's newest iPhone hit Japanese stores in its global debut overnight and also debuts in the United States, France, Germany and the UK.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)