Stock index futures pointed to a slightly weaker open on Wall Street on Thursday after a late recovery in the previous session, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 all down 0.1 percent.

Focus will be on first-time claims data for jobless benefits for the week ended July 30, due at 1230 GMT. Economists forecast 405,000 new filings compared with 398,000 in prior week.

ICSC will release chain store sales for July versus a year ago. In June, sales rose 6.9 percent versus a year earlier.

General Motors Co is expected to post a quarterly profit on Thursday, demonstrating the largest U.S. automaker can thrive in an auto market that has stalled because of consumer uncertainty about the economy.

Other major companies to announce results include Kraft Foods Inc , AIG and Cigna .

U.S. warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp posted a higher-than-expected 10 percent rise in July sales at stores open at least a year, helped by higher gasoline prices and strengthening foreign currencies.

The European Central Bank is expected to keep rates on hold this month after raising them to 1.5 percent in July. The Bank of England is also likely to keep its rates unchanged.

Japan sold one trillion yen ($12.6 billion) and its central bank eased monetary policy on Thursday, joining Switzerland in efforts to tame currencies buoyed by safe-haven demand from investors fretting about the health of the global economy.

Shares in On Assignment rose 11.5 percent and Andersons gained 7.2 percent after announcing results late on Wednesday. Entropic Communications Inc , however, fell 10.3 percent after results.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent on Thursday after hitting 11-month lows in the previous session on global growth concerns and on worries the euro zone debt crisis could spread to Italy.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 29.82 points, or 0.25 percent, at 11,896.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 6.29 points, or 0.5 percent, at 1,260.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 23.83 points, or 0.89 percent, at 2,693.07.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash)