U.S. stock index futures were down on Thursday, as a stronger dollar pressured commodities and ahead of the release of weekly jobless claims data.

Sears Holding Corp reported a third-quarter loss early Thursday that narrowed from the prior year, as same-store sales at its Kmart division rose for the first time in several quarters.

With unemployment above 10 percent and seen holding the economy back from a stronger recovery, investors will look for insight into the labor market with the release of weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Analysts polled by Reuters expect initial claims of 505,000, which would represent an increase from 502,000 posted last week.

December crude futures fell nearly 1 percent as gains in the dollar weighed on prices, and investor sentiment was pressured by doubts about the pace of economic recovery.

The dollar index <.DXY> rose 0.4 percent as global equities slipped from the top of their recent range and commodity markets fell, encouraging investors to pare back exposure to risky assets.

The equity markets are pausing this morning as they are evaluating the dollar carry trade, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Commodities are lower across the board, which in turn is adding to equity pressure.

S&P 500 futures fell 9 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 dropped 67 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 13.75 points.

Quarterly corporate results are due from Gap Inc , Dell Inc and GameStop Corp .

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cut its 2010 growth outlook for the global semiconductor industry and downgraded Intel Corp to neutral from buy. [ID:nBNG431820]. Intel shares were down 3 percent to $19.52 in premarket trading.

Aetna Inc said Wednesday it expects to eliminate roughly 3.5 percent of its workforce by the end of March 2010, reflecting the weak economy and the potential impact of health care reform.

Federal Reserve officials downplayed the consequences of the falling U.S. dollar, underscoring that deflation is still a threat, especially with commercial real estate prices falling.

U.S. stocks broke three days of gains on Wednesday after worrisome outlooks from two major software makers and a surprising drop in home construction last month.

(Additional reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)