US Markets

Stock futures little moved by spending, claims data


U.S. stock-index futures were little changed on Thursday after the government reported consumer spending increased less than forecast in May and jobless claims fell last week.

"Jobless claims couldn't be any closer to spot on, personal income is exactly on consensus," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said of U..S. jobless claims declining by 2,000 to 312,000 last week, in line with expectations.

Another report Thursday had personal spending rising a less-than-forecast 0.2 percent in May, after holding flat in April, and personal income rising 0.4 percent.

Read MoreUS jobless queue shortens; spending falls short

"So we've got an economic-data calendar that has not given us a catalyst one way or the other, and stock futures are reflecting that," Hogan said.

Markets overseas were boosted by a weaker-than-expected reading on U.S. economic growth, which reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates any time soon.

The U.S. economy contracted 2.9 percent on an annualized basis in the first quarter, a much steeper pace than expected, which briefly sent yields on benchmark 10 year-Treasury notes to three-week lows.

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Separately, May durable goods orders unexpectedly declined 1 percent on the month, while the services sector expanded at its fastest clip in more than four years in June.

"Between the rise in service and manufacturing activity, GDP growth is set for a strong rebound in the second quarter," said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy for BK Asset Management.

"Unfortunately the Federal Reserve will want to see how the economy performs in third quarter before getting excited about the recovery. So at the end of the day, the latest economic reports simply validate the central bank's steady and conservative monetary policy stance."

Barclays will be in focus after the New York Attorney General said the U.K. bank would be sued over claims it deceived investors about using "dark pools." The bank pulled a $1.5 billion bond offering following the news. It shares tanked over 5 percent in early trade on the London Stock Exchange.

Read MoreBarclays tanks, pulls bond offering after lawsuit

Winnebago shares gained in early trading after the motor-home maker reported its ConAgra Foods posted better-than-expected quarterly revenue, with shares of the maker of Hunt's tomato ketchup and Slim Jim beef jerky climbing. Accenture shares also rose after the consulting and outsourcing company tallied

Dow component Nike will report after markets close.

Other companies to watch include AbbVie, which has said it is willing to move "quickly and cooperatively" in striking a takeover deal with U.K. rare diseases specialist Shire.

Plus, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) announced it would buy the Frank Russell Company—which owns and runs the U.S. Russell indexes—for $2.7 billion. The LSE will also launch a $1.6 billion rights issue in September. Its shares traded 7.1 percent up on after the announcement.

Frank Russell buy gives LSE boost in index business: CEO

In the bonds markets, the Treasury is scheduled to auction $29 billion in seven-year notes.

Geopolitical tensions eyed

Tensions in Ukraine and a continuing military insurgency in Iraq are also on investors' minds.

Militants seized control of one of Iraq's largest airbase on Wednesday, as well as the Ajeel oil site, located east of Tikrit. The attack came as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he supported attempts to form a new government by July 1.

Meanwhile, Western powers warned Russia that they might impose new sanctions if Moscow does not take more action to defuse the conflict in east Ukraine.