U.S. stock index futures were trading flat in a choppy pre-market session Thursday following a report that jobless claims were unchanged last week and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone debt crisis.
Claims for unemployment benefits were unchanged last week, holding steady at a seasonally adjusted 370,000 rate, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected claims falling to 365,000. The four-week moving average for new claims, declined 4,750 to 375,000.
The Dow and S&P 500 logged four-day losses in the previous sessionafter the Fed's latest meeting minutes showed two policymakers were in favor of further quantitative easing if the economy falters again and after the ECB said it had ceased providing liquidity to some Greek banks due to their failure to recapitalize.
Concerns over the euro zone grew after a report that Moody's told a number of Spanish banks that it will lower their ratings, according to a Spanish newspaper, citing sources. This comes after the agency cut the ratings of 26 Italian lenders earlier this week.
Spain's 10-year yields spiked back above 6 percent. European shares extended their lossesamid pressure from Greece’s political impasse and Spain’s banking crisis.
Wal-Mart rallied after the big-box retailer reported better-than-expected quarterly resultsand posted a gain in same-store sales.
Sears surged after the retailer said it plans to spin offa large part of its stake in its Canada unit to better focus on its U.S. business. The firm also posted a narrower-than-expected loss.