Futures slipped further Thursday as investors were disappointed by the weekly jobless claims report that showed a gained, while trade deficit rose less than expected.
Weekly jobless claims edged higher last week, rising 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, according to the Labor Department.
Meanwhile, the trade deficit narrowed more than expected to $44.8 billion in July—its biggest month-to-month percentage drop since Feb. 2009, according to a government report. Economists had expected $51 billion.
In Europe, the ECB held interest rates at 1.5 percent, as expected, amid growing evidence the euro zone's economic recovery is losing momentum.
Meanwhile, a report by analysts at Danske Bank said the UK should lose its triple-A rating and that it should actually be awarded just an A+.
Markets were encouraged by events in Europe in the previous session after a court ruling backed Germany's role in bailing out other EU countries and as Italy's Senate approved a multibillion-euro austerity plan. Italy's lower house of parliament will debate and vote on the austerity measures next week.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak on the economy at 1:30 pm ET before the Minneapolis Economics Club.
Bernanke is not seen veering from his recent remarks at the Jackson Hole Fed symposium last month and is expected to continue teasing markets with a promise the Fed will discuss its easing options at its two-day meeting next week.
Earlier this week, the FOMC's Charles Evans said that the U.S.'s economy is growing so slowly that it is similar to a recession.
"Conditions still aren't much different from an economy still in recession," said Evans.
President Obama is slated to unveil his much-anticipated plan to create jobs before a joint session of Congress at 7 pm ET. Obama is reported to be seeking as much as $300 billionin infrastructure investments and tax cuts to inspire hiring.
FedEx may consider buying
On the earnings front, Smithfield Foods edged higher after the food manufacturer beat earnings expectations as they benefited from higher prices. And Hovnanian gained after the homebuilder trimmed its quarterly loss.
Corning slid after the specialty glass maker cut its forecast for the glass market, citing weak consumer demand over the holiday season.
—Follow JeeYeon Park on Twitter: twitter.com/JeeYeonParkCNBC—
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: Quarterly services survey, oil inventories, Bernanke speaks, consumer credit, TI mid-quarter update, OECD's global economic outlook, Obama talks jobs/economy
FRIDAY: McDonald's August Sales, wholesale trade, G7 finance ministers meet; Earnings from Kroger, Lululemon Athletica
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