Wall Street is in an unusually extended "wait-and-see" mode, as evidenced by the recent lack of movement in the major averages and little change Thursday in stock index futures.
The Dow has had single digit moves in three of the past four sessions, something that's not been seen since February 2007. That comes ahead of Friday's February jobs report and the continuing uncertainty over the Greek debt crisis.
This morning's most significant development out of Greece is the launching of a 10-year euro-denominated bond issue. Demand for that issue will send more clear signals to the markets about Greece's chances for climbing out of its financial hole. Early indications are that the bond is strongly oversubscribed. The Greek government plans to raise 5 billion euros, with orders now reaching more than 14 billion euros.
Investors will be watching for interest rate decisions from the Bank of England (7 am New York time) and the European Central Bank (7:45 am). Neither is expected to announce any rate changes, but the ECB is expected to give more details about an eventual exit from accommodative monetary policy moves.
Back in the U.S., some key economic numbers will hit the tape at 8:30 am, when the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report is released. This will be watched especially closely, coming a day before the February jobs report, and economists are expecting claims to drop to 475,000 from 496,000 last week. Final fourth-quarter productivity figures are also out at 8:30 am, with forecasts calling for a 6.4 percent annual rate increase.
At 10 am, the National Association of Realtors releases its January pending home sales numbers, with a 1 percent increase representing the consensus forecast. That would be the same increase as the one posted in December.
Throughout the morning, the nation's retailers will be releasing their individual same-store sales figures for February. They may vary widely, with bad weather in the Northeast likely having an impact.
Drug maker Dendreon could be a stock to watch today, on news that its cancer vaccine Provenge improves three-year survival rates by 40 percent.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.