US Markets

US stock futures mildly lower after GDP, claims data


U.S. stock-index futures signaled a steady to lower start to Wall Street trade on Thursday, after the government reported the nation's economy expanded more quickly than previously estimated in the final quarter of 2013 and fewer Americans than forecast filed for unemployment benefits last week.

The Commerce Department reported gross domestic product grew 2.6 percent in the final three months of last year, better than the 2.4 percent rate projected in February.

Separately, numbers from the Labor Department had jobless claims falling by 10,000 to 3111,000, a level that has it at a near four-month low.

"Today's employment numbers suggest we're headed for a nice bounce in the labor market; the revision in Q4 was a little less than we were looking for, but there were bright spots in there," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, referring to increased consumer spending.

"The Ukraine situation, while not a major negative impact today is certainly on the back burner," added Cardillo.

On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund announced a $14-18 billion bailout for Ukraine, ushering in a new era for the post-Soviet economy. The IMF's Mission Chief, Nikolay Gueorguiev, announced the bailout will use a "stand-by arrangement."

(Read more: Ukraine and IMF announce $14-18 billion bailout)

Reports later in the session include pending-home sales for February and natural-gas inventories.

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Sandra Pianalto, a voter on the Federal Open Market Committee, will also speak on Thursday.

This follows the Federal Reserve's publication of its "Comprehensive capital analysis and review" after the market close on Wednesday. The report is essentially part two of the Fed's annual bank stress tests and showed the Fed had rejected the capital plans of five out of 30 banks.

The biggest of these was Citigroup, whose Frankfurt-listed shares traded over 5 percent lower early on Thursday. Citi said it had requested permission for a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share and a stock buyback program of $6.4 billion.

"Needless to say, we are deeply disappointed by the Fed's decision regarding the additional capital actions we requested," CEO Michael Corbat said in a statement, adding that the bank had not decided yet whether to resubmit the plan.

(Read more: Fed rejects Citigroup capital plan, shares drop)

In other corporate news, Satya Nadella will make his public debut in San Francisco at 1 p.m. ET after taking the helm of Microsoft last month. Nadella is widely expected to unveil Microsoft's Office for iPad suite of applications and will also discuss cloud, mobile and social strategy going forward. CNBC will be reporting live outside the event with the details.

What's the best strategy for Microsoft?

Other companies worth watching include King Digital Entertainment, the maker of mobile game Candy Crush, which fell over 15 percent on its first day of trade on Wednesday, marking the worst debut of any stock this year. Its weak performance led a broader decline in technology stocks.

(Read more: Is King Digital the beginning of the end?)

Bank of America late Wednesday announced a $9.3 billion settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The deal will end litigation over "bad" mortgages issued prior to the financial crisis.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato