Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange REUTERS

Futures on major U.S. stock indices remained-range bound on Thursday ahead of a wave of economic data including key weekly U.S. jobs data from the government.

Futures on the S&P 500 are down 0.02 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.05 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.01 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on weekly initial jobless claims, durable goods orders, PCE price index and personal income and consumption data which are due to be released before the markets open, while reports on new home sales and Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index will be released after the markets open.

Economists expect new orders for manufactured durable goods in November to decrease by 1 percent compared to a 3.4 percent decline in October. Core durable goods orders, excluding transportation, are expected to increase 1 percent in November.

The Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. Economists have forecast initial jobless claims will be 424,000 for the week ended December 18 against 420,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

Meanwhile, monthly core PCE price index is expected to inch up 0.1 percent following a flat reading in the previous month. Personal income is expected to remain weak, while personal spending may probably have picked up in November.

After the opening bell, new home sales data for the month of November will be released. Economists have forecast sales of new single-family houses to be 303,000 for November against 283,000 in the previous month.

On Wednesday, US stocks rose moderately higher, given a slight boost by a small upward revision to third-quarter GDP and an uptick in sales of existing homes.

The euro advanced 0.01 percent to 1.3101 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.72 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures gained 0.13 percent to $90.60/barrel and gold futures declined 0.25 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 5.39 points, DAX30 up by 6.70 points and CAC 40 down by 8.61 points.