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Futures mixed as oil struggles to hold gains

U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to slightly higher open on Monday, amid a spike in oil prices and ahead of key data in the shortened Thanksgiving holiday week.

Ahead of Thursday's national holiday, which is historically positive for the market, one data focus will be the second reading of third-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) on Tuesday. Analysts expect to see an upward revision to the initial estimate.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Oil prices briefly turned higher on Monday after the Saudi Cabinet stressed the country's role in the stability of the oil market. West Texas Intermediate struggled to hold gains in choppy trade, holding more than half a percent lower near $41.60 a barrel as of 8:45 a.m., ET. Earlier, WTI spiked more than 1 percent after falling nearly 2 percent.

The internationally-traded Brent benchmark pared gains to trade about 0.1 percent higher.

Other commodities, including iron ore, zinc and nickel, were trading lower on concerns of slowing demand in China. Copper fell to more than a six-year low.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was minus 0.04 in October, up from minus 0.29 in September.

Existing home sales is due at 10:00 a.m.

Stocks usually gain in the week of Thanksgiving, according to analytics service Kensho. The S&P 500, in the last 10 years, has averaged a gain of 1.9 percent during the week and has been positive six times. One possible negative for the week ahead could be further selling in oil, which has dipped below $40 several times in the past week.

San Francisco Fed President John Williams said there is a strong case for the Fed to begin raising short-term interest rates over the weekend. The dollar climbed following his comments, with the greenback trading around $1.06 against the euro early Monday.

The Fed's meeting is due December 15 and 16, and the most important piece of U.S. data central bank officials will get before that meeting is the November jobs report December 4.

On the earnings front, Tyson Foods, GameStop and MOL Global are due to report before market open, while numbers from Palo Alto Networks come after the bell.

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In Europe, equities traded lower as traders watch a continued slide in oil prices and other commodities.

— CNBC's Patti Domm contributed to this report.