(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures turned negative as investors awaited comments from the European Central Bank, which held its main interest rate at historic lows.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures shed 77 points to 12,846. The Nasdaq futures fell 17.25 points to 2,607.75. Standard and Poor's 500 futures declined 9.40 points lower to 1,361.
The European Central Bank kept the key interest rate at a record-low of 0.75 percent even as markets look for statements from ECB President Mario Draghi, who had last week said the central bank could do whatever is needed to protect the beleaguered euro.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed on a negative note after the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy decision disappointed investors who hoped the central bank may announce another round of quantitative easing to spur economic growth.
On the U.S. economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits increased for the week ended July 28, a government data showed. The data comes a day after the ADP National Employment report - a measure of the monthly change in non-farm private employment - showed that U.S. companies added more jobs than forecast. Non-farm payrolls report for July is due on Friday.
Jobless claims rose 8,000 to 365,000 last week from a revised 357,000, yet came in lower than economists expectations of 370,000 applications. Meanwhile, a report from the Commerce Department at 10 am ET may show factory goods orders for June rose 0.5 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GM, TDC, NAV, GMCR, FSLR, AEO, YELP
In corporate news, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) added 1.68 percent in premarket after the auto giant posted second-quarter earnings that topped market expectations. The Detroit, Michigan-based company earned 90 cents a share, versus expectations of 74 cents a share.
Teradata Corp. (NYSE:TDC) rose 8.17 percent in premarket after the Dayton, Ohio-based analytic data services provider reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue and the company raised its full-year forecast.
Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) tumbled 11.18 percent in premarket after the Lisle, Illinois-based truck manufacturer withdrew its 2012 forecast and guided third quarter revenue below Wall Street projections. The company also said U.S. federal regulators have requested additional information from the company related to certain accounting and disclosure matters.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) jumped 10.16 percent after the company announced third-quarter earnings and said it will buyback upto $500 million of its stock.
American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) may be in spotlight after the clothing retailer raised its second-quarter earnings view following stronger-than-expected sales.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) soared 17.09 percent after the Tempe, Arizona-based maker of solar modules lifted its earnings and sales guidance for the full year after posting quarterly results that topped consensus.
Metlife Inc. (NYSE:MET), the largest life insurer in the United States, reported a surge in quarterly earnings driven by net derivative gains of $1.4 billion. Shares inched higher in premarket.
Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP) gained 6.27 percent in premarket after the San Francisco, California-based online-information site reported a jump in quarterly sales and raised its 2012 forecast.
European markets traded mixed, with Germany's DAX adding 0.19 percent to trade at 6,767.01. France's CAC40 traded 0.21 percent lower at 3,314.72. U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.35 percent to trade at 5,692.55.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index fell 0.57 percent to finish at 2,111.18. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.13 percent to end at 8,653.18. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declined 0.66 percent to end at 19,690.20. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,224.36, down 0.19 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures retreated 0.69 percent to $88.300 per barrel. Gold futures remained flat at to $1,607.300 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro traded 0.05 percent higher against the U.S. dollar at 1.2231 and the British pound added 0.09 percent against the greenback to 1.5550. The dollar lost 0.31 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.1900.