Caterpillar matched estimates with adjusted profit of $1.27 per share, but revenue was short, and the company also cut its revenue forecast for the year. The heavy equipment maker cited currency impact and a soft economic environment, but said it is controlling costs and will be in position to take advantage of improving conditions when they occur.
The company's shares fell more than 3 percent in pre-market trade, weighing on the Dow futures.
Other firms reporting before the bell include General Motors and McDonald's, plus Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly and Raytheon.
Amazon.com will post numbers after the close of trade, along with Starbucks and Visa.
Weekly jobless claims came in at 255,000, while leading economic indicators are due at 10 a.m.
Early on Thursday, stocks traded flat in Europe after a number of big regional earnings, including Credit Suisse, Unilever, Publicis and Roche.
Shares of Credit Suisse spiked close to 5 percent after it posted second-quarter profit that trumped expectations.
In an interview with CNBC, the new chief executive of Credit Suisse hinted that the bank could opt for a capital hike.
"We do have areas where we need capital...We may need to call for additional capital," Tidjane Thiam told CNBC.
Also early during the day, the chief executive of agricultural chemicals group Syngenta ruled out further merger negotiations with U.S. rival Monsanto, describing its takeover offer as "woefully short."
"This unsolicited proposal failed frankly on every dimension that it would need to succeed in order for us to go any further," Michael Mack, chief executive of Syngenta, told CNBC after it reported a 12 percent decline in sales for the first half of 2015.
Another stock to watch on Thursday will be Bank of America, after its CEO confirmed that the company's chief financial officer and vice chairman would be leaving.
Paul Donofrio, who currently serves as the head of global corporate credit and transaction banking, will take over the chief finance office on August 1, sources close to the situation told CNBC.
In addition, Qualcomm announced late on Wednesday that it would cut its workforce by about 15 percent, contributing to a total of $1.4 billion in cost reductions. It also announced changes to its board and executive compensation.
Shares in the San Diego-based chipmaker traded more than 2 percent lower in extended hours trade on the Nasdaq.
In Asia-Pacific, China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index chalked up its sixth session of gains, which analysts attributed to authorities' efforts to stabilize the market.
"You cannot fight the Chinese government, particularly if they put trillions of renminbi to stabilize the market," said Steven Sun, head of China equity strategy at HSBC.
—CNBC's Peter Schacknow contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.