Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 fell 0.4 to 0.6 percent, pointing to a weaker start for equities on Wall Street on Thursday.

Investors are likely to continue to focus on U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony on monetary policy and the state of the economy before the Senate Banking Committee.

On Wednesday, Bernanke reassured lawmakers interest rates will remain low, driving U.S. stocks higher as investors welcomed the promise of more cheap money.

Earnings news will also be in the spotlight, with Heinz reporting third-quarter numbers and Dr Pepper Snapple , GAP and Safeway all reporting fourth-quarter figures.

Apple's Chief Executive Steve Jobs will hold his annual face-to-face meeting with shareholders on Thursday.

On the economic front, investors will eye U.S. Durable Goods for January at 1330 GMT (8:30 a.m. EST), with economists in a Reuters survey expecting a rise in orders of 1.5 percent versus a 1.0 percent rise in December.

President Barack Obama will launch a last-ditch bid to salvage his stalled healthcare overhaul on Thursday at a televised summit that could offer more potential for political theater than problem solving.

In company news, Coca-Cola Co is in talks to buy most of its largest bottler for roughly $15 billion, including debt, marking a shift in its strategy to keep its bottling operations separate, a person familiar with the situation said late on Wednesday.

Toyota Motor Corp's president apologized to U.S. lawmakers and ended the day in tears, marking a potential climax to his company's safety crisis but leaving it with a long road to rebuild its reputation.

The FBI raided three Detroit-area Japanese auto parts makers for a sealed federal antitrust investigation, including Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> affiliate Denso Corp <6902.T>, authorities said on Wednesday.

Oil fell below $80 on Thursday, as the dollar recovered and the euro slid on persistent concerns over Greece's fiscal position.

Standard & Poor's said late on Wednesday it will maintain a CreditWatch with negative implications on Greece's BBB-plus sovereign credit rating, meaning a downgrade of one or two notches in the next month remains possible.

Software giant Microsoft Corp has won a U.S. court approval to deactivate a global network of computers that the company accused of spreading spam and harmful computer codes, the Wall Street Journal said.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 1 percent on Thursday as the yen rose broadly.

In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares edged 0.2 percent higher, led by the banking and chemical sectors.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 0.9 percent and both the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> advanced 1 percent.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Hans Peters)