U.S. stock index futures extended losses after a report showed initial claims for unemployment benfits rose unexpectedly for the second straight week.
Ahead of the report, stocks had been set for a pullback Thursday after five straight days of gains, which had pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq to multi-year highs in the previous session.
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 had their biggest percentage gains since early March Wednesday, and more than 25 percent of the S&P 500 chalked up new 52-week highs.
The Dow is now 70 percent above the March 2009 lows, the S&P 500 79 percent higher. The Nasdaq Composite has nearly doubled, registering a 97.4 percent gain since that date. The major averages have now advanced for five straight sessions. The S&P 500's move above 1,200 points comes about 12 years after it first happened.
Asian stocks managed to close mostly higher in the wake of better-than-expected gross domestic product data out of China. But European shares edged slightly lower after a positive start to their trading day.
The Labor Department says first-time requests for jobless benefits rose to 484,000 last week, the highest levels since late February. Economists had expected claims to fall to 440,000.
At 9:15 am, the Federal Reserve will release March numbers for industrial production and factory capacity utilization. Industrial production is seen increasing by 0.8 percent after February's rise of 0.1 percent, and capacity utilization should increase to 73.3 percent from the prior month's reading of 72.7 percent.
At 10 am, the widely followed Philadelphia Fed Index will be out, with consensus forecasts expecting a rise in April to 19.5 from March's 18.9. And at 1 pm, the National Association of Home Builders sentiment index will be released. It is forecast to rise one point to 16 from last month.
More Fed speakers are due to take to the stage Thursday. Speeches are scheduled from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, and San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen. All but Yellen's speech take place during the trading day. CNBC's Steve Liesman will have an exclusive interview with Lacker at 2 pm.
Restaurant operator Yum Brands exceeded Wall Street forecasts with its latest earnings report Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that German and Russian officials are investigating whether Hewlett-Packard paid millions in bribes to win a contract in Russia.
The day's most prominent earnings report will come after the closing bell, when the latest quarterly numbers from Google are released.
And UPS preannounced fiscal first quarter earnings that exceeded Street estimates and raised its outlook for the year.
- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk.