"The FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] was more hawkish than we had expected," wrote Goldman Sachs economists Jan Hatzius and Sven Jari Stehn. "Our takeaway is that the risk to our forecast of quantitative easing tapering starting in December has increased."
Bernanke's comments triggered a huge market selloff Wednesday, with the Dow closing down more than 200 points. The benchmark 10-year yield continued to rise even further Thursday to 2.425 percent, hitting its highest level since August 2011. Gold prices tumbled to their lowest in more than 2-1/2 years and silver fell more than 6 percent.
European shares were deeply in the red across the board with the FTSEurofirst 300 index down more than 2 percent. Markets in Asia were slammed, with the Japanese Nikkei closing down nearly 2 percent. South Korea's Kospi and the Shanghai Composite traded near 2013 lows.
(Read More: After the Fed—What's the Market's Next Move?)
Adding to woes in Asia, China's HSBC Flash Purchasing Manager's Index, a preliminary reading of manufacturing activity, fell to a nine-month low in June.
On the economic front, jobless claims jumped 18,000 to a seasonally adjusted 354,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a reading of 340,000 last week. The four-week moving average for new claims rose 2,500 to 348,250.
At 10 am ET, existing home sales, leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed survey are all scheduled to be reported.
(Read More: Your First Move for Thursday)
Microsoft shares will be in focus on Thursday, after press reports that the tech giant had planned to acquire Finland's Nokia, but talks had broken down.
In addition, Microsoft announced a major change to its Xbox One videogame console, saying it will no longer require an Internet connection to play offline games. It also dropped all restrictions on trading games, and did away with region-locking restrictions.
Also, Facebook is scheduled to hold a press event at its headquarters later this afternoon. While the social network has not confirmed a product launch, it is widely expected it will announce a video function for its photo-sharing app, Instagram.