US stock futures eke out gains as investors keep an eye on data, bonds

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.

U.S. stock index futures edged slightly higher ahead of the open on Thursday, as investors took note of the mixed sentiment in markets overseas.

Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 35 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.25 points and 12.25 points, respectively.

In the previous trading day, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq snapped a six-day winning streak, both closing lower as investors fretted over the possibility of China halting its Treasury bond purchases, and the U.S.' future involvement in NAFTA.

On Thursday, markets worldwide continue to pull back somewhat from recent highs.

Concerns have also been emanating for the bond markets as the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to its highest level since March on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that officials in Beijing had recommended that China's government lowers — or even potentially ceases — its buying of U.S. sovereign debt.

However, on Thursday, China's currency regulator said the country was diversifying its foreign exchange reserves while dismissing the media report on U.S. bonds, according to Reuters.

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As the bond markets continue to weigh on sentiment, investors will be looking to upcoming data releases for any clues as to how the U.S. economy is performing.

First off, jobless claims are due out at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with producer price index (PPI) data. The Monthly Treasury Statement is then expected to come out at 2 p.m. ET.

On the U.S. central bank front, New York Fed President William Dudley is expected to appear at SIFMA's "U.S. economic outlook: What's in store for 2018" event in New York.

—CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report