U.S. stock index futures indicated a flat to higher open on Thursday, and while markets could again be buffeted by year-end crosscurrents and positioning ahead of the Fed, oil may have the final say. Oil hit near seven year lows this week, with OPEC failing to cut its production quotas after last Friday's meeting.
On Thursday morning, Brent crude traded at around $39.93 a barrel, down 0.47 percent, while U.S. crude was at around $36.75 a barrel, down 1.10 percent.
On the data front, import prices in November fell 0.4 percent after a revised 0.3 percent decline in October. Import prices have declined in 15 of the last 17 months. Economists had forecast import prices falling 0.7 percent after a previously reported 0.5 percent drop in October.
Weekly jobless claims came in at 282,000, the highest since early July. The Federal Budget is due at 2:00 p.m.
In Asia the Shanghai Composite closed 0.46 percent lower while Japan's Nikkei finished 1.32 percent lower. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.1 percent lower on Thursday morning.
— Reuters, and CNBC's Patti Domm and Katy Barnato contributed to this report