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US stock futures drop more after jobless claims

U.S. stock-index futures signaled a weak open on Wall Street on Thursday, after data showed a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing this month.

Chinese stocks closed lower after HSBC's flash PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) came in at a six-month low of 49.6, down from last month's 50.5.

Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC, said the data indicated problems with China's economy.

"I wouldn't get my hopes up for a big, strong pick-up right after Chinese New Year. Interest rates are rising in China, we know the government is pursuing aggressive reforms; a strong pick-up is not in the cards for China," he added.


In Europe, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland continues on Thursday. Business leaders gathered at the forum on Wednesday appeared confident that both the U.S. and the global economy were recovering, but saw risks from rising income inequality and financial shocks.

Thursday will be a key day for both quarterly earnings and macro data on Thursday. Weekly initial jobless claims will be out at 08:30 ET, following by existing home sales for December at 10:00. There will also be weekly natural gas and crude oil inventories.

McDonald's reported quarterly earnings that topped analysts' expectations by a penny a share, with revenue rising to $7.09 billion compared to estimates of $7.11 billion in sales. Its shares fell in early New York trading.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato