New York - US stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Thursday as investors found few reasons to buy following a sharp rally in the previous session and amid signs of weakness in Europe and ongoing uncertainty over Ukraine.
Trading is likely to continue being driven by overseas issues, with the latest data out of Europe showing the euro zone's economy ground to a halt in the second quarter.
The US bourse is set to open higher as European leaders get ready to meet. Credit: REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, a conciliatory note after months of tough rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine.
In the latest US data, jobless claims rose more than expected in the latest week, though the long-term trend was still viewed as positive.
The claims data comes a day after retail sales report also pointed to waning economic momentum, though tepid data could give the Federal Reserve more support to move slowly on raising interest rates, a situation that favours equities.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc reported flat same-store sales for the second-quarter and cut its full-year profit outlook.
Shares of the Dow component fell 0.6 percent to $73.60 (R423) before the bell.
Cisco Systems fell 1.2 percent to $24.90 in premarket trading.
The Dow component gave a tepid outlook a day earlier for its current quarter and announced massive job cuts even as revenue beat expectations.
Wal-Mart and Cisco are the latest major names to issue cautious outlooks.
On Wednesday, Macy's Inc cut its full-year same-store sales outlook while Deere & Co cut its profit view.
S&P 500 e-mini futures fell 0.5 point but remained above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract.
Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 2 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures rose 1.25 point.
Wall Street rallied on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average returning to positive territory for the year.
The S&P 500 is about 2.1 percent below a late-July record close.
Amgen Inc fell 2.5 percent to $124.21 in premarket trading after a drug failed to extend survival compared to standard care in a trial involving patients with advanced multiple myeloma.
The chief executive of NewLink Genetics Corp, which licensed an Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian government scientists, late Wednesday told Reuters it has enough doses on hand to launch the first human safety trial of an Ebola vaccine this summer.
The US Food and Drug Administration late Wednesday said it had approved a new Merck & Co insomnia drug, sending shares up 1.7 percent to $58.86 before the bell. - Reuters