Futures extended their decline Thursday, after jobless claims posted a surprise gain and following the Federal Reserve's tepid economic outlook.
Stocks fell in the final hour of trading to close lower in the previous sessionafter Fed chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that the pace of the economic recovery is slower than expected, but offered no hint about plans for new stimulus measures.
Dennis Gartman, author of The Gartman Letter, told CNBC that Bernanke was "quietly risk negative"during his press conference following the FOMC announcement.
On the economic front, new claims for unemployment benefits posted a surprise gain last week, according to the Labor Department. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000, up from prior week's figure of 420,000.
Economists expected claims to edge up to 415,000 from a previously reported count of 414,000, according to a survey from Reuters.
New home sales for May, due at 10 am ET is expected to show a dip to 310,000 from 323,300 recorded in April.
Meanwhile, oil prices tumbled amid speculation the International Energy Agency could reduce oil's price. U.S. light, sweet crude slid below $92 a barrel, while London Brent crude fell $110.
In corporate news, the U.S. has a clear path to sell its stake in General Motors, according to an official in the Obama administration.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer climbed after the pharma companies announced that a blood thinner they developed proved safer than the current treatment in preventing strokes.
In earnings news, Rite Aid gained after drugstore chain posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.
Lennar also gained after the homebuilder's profit fell, but still beat what analysts were expecting.