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Traders eye data, gear up for Friday's jobs report

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday as traders eyed the release of data and looked towards Friday's highly anticipated jobs report.

Traders have focused all week on the scheduled Friday morning release of September employment data, which should add weight to the case for a interest rate hike sooner rather than later. On the data front Thursday, initial claims are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

In oil markets, Brent crude traded at $51.94 a barrel on Thursday, up 0.15 percent, while U.S. crude was around $49.85 a barrel, up 0.04 percent.

On the earnings front , Helen of Troy and Ruby Tuesday are set to report after the bell.

In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was 0.24 percent lower on Thursday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.47 percent higher.

—CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report