U.S. stock index futures dipped into negative territory Thursday, despite a better-than-expected jobless claims report, as worries over the "fiscal cliff" lingered.
On the economic front, jobless claims fell 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected a reading of 380,000 compared with 393,000 in the prior week.
Meanwhile, planned layoffs gained for the third-straight month, with employers announcing 57,081 job cuts in November, according to a report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The gain was partly driven month in a row in November, partly driven by the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands.
Investors will be looking ahead to Friday's government jobs report.
European stock markets were higher. The ECB held interest rates at a record low of 0.75 percent, as expected. ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to speak on his economic outlook for 2014 in a news conference.
Apple continued to edge lower, a day after logging its biggest one-day drop in four years. The stock has tumbled more than 20 percent from its all-time high of $705 in September, trading in bear market territory.
Lululemon Athletica slipped after the yoga apparel maker topped earnings expectations, but current-quarter guidance fell short of Wall Street estimates.
Sirius XM Radio announced a $2 billion stock buyback program and declared a special cash dividend of 5 cents a share. So far, more than 150 companies have announced special dividends and accelerated their payouts in the fourth quarter, ahead of next year's possible tax increase on dividends.
Zynga jumped after the social-gaming company filed paperwork for a gaming license in Nevada, the firm's first step toward offering gambling games.
Standard Chartered confirmed that it will probably pay a further $330 million to U.S. authorities over allegations it did not comply with sanctions against trading with Iran. HSBC could be in line for a $1.8 billion fine over money laundering in Mexico,according to Reuters.
There will be an Economic Committee hearing on the fiscal cliff, after the announcement that U.S.politicians may have to put off their Christmas leave to hammer out the details of how to resolve the issue. (Read More: Amid 'Fiscal Cliff' Stalemate, Main Street Deteriorates)
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: Quarterly services survey, Apple/Samsung hearing; Earnings from Cooper Cos.
FRIDAY: Employment situation, consumer sentiment, consumer credit
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