Stock index futures fell on Thursday after manufacturing data in the euro zone and China increased worry about a slowing global economy.

The HSBC flash purchasing managers index showed China's manufacturing sector activity shrank in March for a fifth successive month while the March Markit's Eurozone Composite PMI showed further contraction, led by a decline in French and German factory activity.

The data greatly reduced hopes the euro zone could sidestep a recession while indicating China's economic slowdown has yet to wane.

European equity markets weakened for a fourth straight session, heading for their longest down run in four months as weak economic data while shares in Asia relinquished most of the earlier gains following the data. <.EU>

Investors will look to U.S. data with weekly jobless claims due at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT), the home price index, due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT), as well as leading indicators, also due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) for signs the domestic economy continues to improve.

The pan-European FTSE Eurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> fell 1.2 percent to 1,078.81 and the euro shed 0.4 percent.

S&P 500 futures fell 7.8 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 fell 71 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures lost 16 points.

Discover Financial Services' gained 1.1 percent to $31.89 in light premarket trade after quarterly profit beat Wall Street expectations for the eighth straight quarter, as more Americans used its credit cards, and the company said it was speeding up its expansion into international markets.

McDonald's Corp's chief executive Jim Skinner, who took the top post at the world's biggest hamburger chain after the abrupt departures of two predecessors, is retiring after more than seven years at the helm.

Japan's NEC Corp <6701.T> said it would buy U.S. telecoms firm Convergys Corp's business support operations, which span billing and client support services, for $450 million, as it hunts for new telecom equipment sales abroad.

(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)