U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to lower open on Thursday, as investors digested the mostly dovish minutes from the Fed, ahead of more earnings and data releases.
Jobless claims came in at 281,000, slightly above lowered expectations, but an increase from last week.
The U.S.10-year Treasury note yield held unchanged at 1.89 percent, while the 2-year Treasury note yield edged higher to 0.54 percent. The U.S. dollar held gains, with the euro below $1.08.
Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, pointed out in a note that the four-week average on initial jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 2000.
"Bottom line, near 15-year lows in both initial claims and continuing claims is a clear sign that employers are holding on to their employees to a great extent and another sign of a tightening labor market," he said.
Markets searched for direction on Wednesday after the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's March meeting, which showed policymakers were divided over the timing of a rate hike.
"Arguably most striking was the apparent division of Committee members into three broad camps according to their timing preference for the first rate increase. And the "June hikers" will have been subsequently disappointed by the weak US non-farm payrolls data for March," said Daiwa Capital Markets' economist Robert Kuenzel.
"Given the minutes' emphasis on future Fed moves being data-dependent, the minutes also seemed to focus attention on a required stabilization in energy prices and the value of the dollar before the Committee could be confident in inflation turning up," he added.