Stock futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 share indexes are down 0.4 to 0.6 percent, pointing to a lower start on Wall Street.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies on Capitol Hill for a second day, this time before the House Appropriations financial services subcommittee at 10:00 a.m. EDT.

He told the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday the administration was making headway in calming financial markets and would have a program to cleanse toxic assets from banks' balance sheets up and running by July.

The Labor Department, at 8:30 a.m. EDT, releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended May 16. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 630,000 new filings compared with 637,000 in the prior week.

Gap to announce quarterly results. Analysts, polled by Reuters Estimates, expect the retailer to report earnings of 30 cents per share, down 4 cents from the year-ago quarter.

Boeing CEO James McNerney and other corporate officials of the aerospace giant address an investor meeting. The company is expected to update its financial outlook and discuss the state of demand for the company's planes among commercial customers.

At 10:00 a.m. EDT, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases its May business activity survey. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a reading of -18.0 versus -24.4 in April.

By mid-morning European shares fell 2 percent to snap a five-day winning run after the United States deflated hopes of an early economic recovery by cutting growth forecasts and Standard & Poor's cut its outlook on the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday, the United States cut its growth forecasts for the next three years, forecasting sharper shrinkage of the economy this year than it did in January.

The Conference Board releases at 10:00 a.m. EDT its April report on leading economic indicators. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 0.8 percent increase compared with a 0.3 percent decrease in March.

Internet search engine operator Google has decided against acquiring a newspaper, the Financial Times reported, citing the company's chief executive and chairman, Eric Schmidt.

Regulators have questioned former Lehman Brothers Holdings executives over their marketing of auction-rate securities, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Shares of drug maker Cephalon Inc declined 2.1 percent after the close on Wednesday as it announced a public offering of common stock.

Shares of children's clothing retailer Gymboree Corp dipped 1.5 percent after the close on Wednesday as the company announced quarterly results and said it sees a mid- to high-single-digit decrease in comparable store sales for the second quarter.

Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc rose 2.6 percent to $44 after the bell on Wednesday after the auto parts retailer posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street's forecasts.

Shares of data storage equipment maker NetApp Inc were down 3.1 percent late on Wednesday after it announced a decline in quarterly profit and said it could not give an outlook due to the weak economy.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Hans Peters)