Stock index futures moved slightly lower after the government reported a slightly higher-than-expected gain in consumer prices before the opening bell Thursday.
The consumer price index rose 0.4 in January, while the core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2 percent, the Labor Department reported. Econmists surveyed by Reuters had expected the overall CPI to rise by 0.3 percent, and the core CPI to rise 0.1 percent.
The government also reported that initial claims for unemployment rose more than expected last week. Claims rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 410,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected claims to rise to 400,000 from the previously reported 383,000. The government revised last weeks figure upward to 385,000.
The four-week moving average of unemployment claims to by 1,750 to 417,750.
Oil prices gainedamid unrest in the Middle East, including news that police stormed a square filled with peaceful protesters in Bahrain. Brent crude rose to near $104 a barrel, while U.S. light sweet crude rose above $85 a barrel.
Meanwhile, gold held steady at$1,380 an ounce. The dollar fell slightly against a basket of currencies as the euro rose.