U.S. stock index futures held their losses Thursday, following the jobless claims and GDP data and amid skepticism that European leaders would overcome their differences to form a solution to tackle the ongoing debt crisis.
European leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday afternoon for the two-day summit, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel already stating they must concentrate on fundamental reforms rather than emergency proposals put forward by Italy and Spain to help alleviate their cost of borrowing on the markets. European shares were trading lower in volatile trading.
Merkel has also refused to discuss the issue of debt burden sharing unless national budget controls across the euro zone are introduced first.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that a report that Germany could be willing to move sooner than expected to accept shared liability of euro zone debt was not true.
An auction of Italian five and 10-year bonds held ahead of the summit saw yields spike to their highest level since December 2011. Italy's benchmark 10-year borrowing costs hit 6.19 percent while the five year yield rose to 5.84 percent.
On the economic front, GDP increased at a 1.9 percent annual rate, according to the Commerce Department in its final reading, which was unchanged from its estimate last month and in line with expectations.
And weekly jobless claims fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected a reading of 385,000, according to a Reuters survey. The four-week moving average for new claims slipped 750 to 386,750.