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US futures point to lower open amid Fed speakers, data

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday as traders eyed a number of Fed speakers, digested the release of data as well as President-elect Donald Trump's first post-election press conference.

Trump shook the broader market temporarily on Wednesday when he criticized the pharmaceutical industry for its pricing practices and the production of drugs outside the U.S. He said he was looking to the industry to bid on drug prices.

Investors kept an eye on a roster of Federal Reserve officials who are speaking at various events for any clues on interest rates and inflation. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said in prepared remarks three rate hikes are appropriate.

Harker, speaking on the economic outlook before the Main Line Chamber in Malvern, Pa., said 2017 is starting off on a "good foot" and inflation expectations are starting to rally. Still, he said monetary policy is a "limited set of tools" and growth policies are up to elected officials.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart are due to speak at 8:45 a.m. ET in Florida at the American Council of Life Insurers Roundtable, with Lockhart also set to give a speech at the Naples Chamber of Commerce at 12:30 p.m.

St Louis Fed President James Bullard will speak in New York at 1:15 p.m., while Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan is scheduled to speak in Dallas at 1:45 p.m. ET. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will address educators at a town hall meeting in Washington from 7:00 p.m.

On the data front, initial jobless claims rose less than expected. On the earnings front, Delta Air Lines reported before the bell, with Infosys set to report after the bell.

In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was around 0.26 percent lower on Thursday.

—CNBC's Patti Domm and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report