U.S. stock index futures climbed after briefly cutting gains Thursday as investors sifted through a batch of mixed economic reports and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims edged down a mere 2,000to a seasonally adjusted 370,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims to remain unchanged. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, dropped 5,500 to 370,000.
Meanwhile, durable goods orders rose less than expectedin April, gaining 0.2 percent, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected orders to increase 0.5 percent.
And U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in May to hit a three-month low, according to a new industry survey. Markit said its U.S. "flash" manufacturing PMI fell to 53.9. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
European shares were higherin choppy trade, with disappointing manufacturing data from both France and Germany exerting downward pressure. The Ifo German business climate index for May also came in much lower than expected.
European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny said any Greek exit from the euro zone would pose a huge disruption with unforeseeable consequences, and stressed that he did not want to take part in speculation about the prospects of an exit occurring.
"These would be large, massive shocks where you would not know what the consequences would be," he told reporters.