US Markets

Futures hold losses after economic reports; Wal-Mart slides


U.S. stock index futures held their losses across the board Thursday following weaker-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart and as investors digested a pair of economic reports.

On the economic front, jobless claims declined less than expected in the latest week, while consumer prices ticked up 0.1 percent in January, matching expectations.

Among earnings, Wal-Mart fell after the big-box retailer reported fourth quarter earnings and revenue that missed expectations and were down against the previous year.

(Read more: Wal-Mart earnings badly miss expectations)

Generic drugmaker Actavis also posted results early on Thursday, with a 59 percent net revenue increase to $2.78 billion and an earnings per share loss of 86 cents. Earlier this week it announced it was buying rival Forest Laboratories for around $25 billion.

Imax posted fourth quarter earnings of 44 cents per share on sales of $105 million, topping analysts' expectations for revenue of $93.4 million. It also flagged its highest-ever quarterly box office takings of $244 million.

After the U.S. markets close, Hewlett Packard, Groupon and Nordstrom will publish numbers.

WhatsApp deal could benefit Facebook: Pro

Other companies worth watching on Thursday include Facebook, after its giant $16 billion acquisition of mobile messaging firm WhatsApp. The purchase is Facebook's largest yet, dwarfing the $1 billion it paid for Instagram.

(Read more: Facebook buys WhatsApp: A desperate move?)

In addition, shares of electronic car manufacturer Tesla Motors soared in after-hours trade when it posted better-than-expected earnings. On Thursday morning, Frankfurt-listed shares were trading over 9 percent higher.

Other numbers to be released include the Philadelphia Fed index at 10 a.m., leading economic indicators and weekly natural gas and crude oil inventories.