U.S. stock index futures were mildly lower Thursday, after the Federal Reserve's release of the minutes of its April meeting and better-than-expected Wal-Mart earnings. Traders also eyed data and comments from Fed policymakers.
According to prepared remarks Thursday, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said in order to lift the long-run equilibrium interest rate what the United States needs most is "faster potential growth" now that the economy is near full employment and approaching the Fed's target inflation rate.
The Fed minutes, published Wednesday afternoon, pointed to a rate hike if economic data improves.
Weekly jobless claims declined to 278,000, after three weeks of increases. The May Philly Fed index showed minus 1.8.
Treasury yields held steady, with the 2-year yield around 0.9 percent and the 10-year yield around 1.85 percent. The U.S. dollar index was off highs, with the euro near $1.12 and the yen near 110 yen against the greenback as of 9:27 a.m. ET.
New York Fed President William Dudley is also set to speak Thursday.
Leading indicators are due at 10:00 a.m.
On the earnings front, Wal-Mart reported better-than-expected quarterly results, posting earnings of 98 cents a share on revenue of $115.9 billion. On a constant currency basis, total revenue was $119.4 billion. Shares were up about 8 percent in pre-market trade.
Oil traded more than 2 percent lower, with both WTI and brent below $48 a barrel.
In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down about 0.5 percent on Thursday, as the search for an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo, which disappeared from radar earlier this morning, continued.