U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower start on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq down 0.1-0.3 percent at 5:30 a.m. EST.

After the closing bell on Wednesday, Cisco Systems reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street forecast, but its CEO said there was still need for caution. Shares in Cisco traded in Frankfurt were down 1.1 percent.

Techs will also be in focus after Germany's SAP AG said it plans to buy U.S. business software maker Sybase Inc for $5.8 billion, gaining technology that allows it to deliver accounting software and other programs to smartphones.

Financial stocks will be in the spotlight after The New York Times reported that the New York attorney general has begun an investigation into eight banks to determine whether they provided misleading information to agencies that rate mortgage securities.

Investors will eye first-quarter numbers from Nordstrom , Kohls Corp. , Select Medical Corp. , NVIDIA Corp. , Urban Outfitters and fourth-quarter figures from CA .

In macro news, investors will watch at 8:30 a.m. EST the release of first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended May 8. Economists forecast a total of 440,000 new filings compared with 444,000 in the prior week.

The Senate voted on Wednesday to reject a Republican measure that would have weakened proposed new rules for the unpoliced $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market.

Crude prices fell 0.8 percent on Thursday, while European stocks edged lower in morning trade, as weakness in the banking sector overshadowed gains in miners <.EU>, and Japan's Nikkei average rose over 2 percent to a one-week closing high on Thursday following Spain's new tough measures to cut its deficit that sparked a rally in stocks worldwide <.T>.

U.S. stocks capped their best three-day run in 10 months on Wednesday boosted by technology and industrial shares, after Spain unveiled its austerity plan that reassured investors Europe was addressing its fiscal ills.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 1.4 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 1.4 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 2.1 percent.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)