(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on the Wall Street as investors weighed Chinese inflation data and domestic reports on trade and the labor market.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures added 7 points to 13,127. The Nasdaq futures inched up 5.25 points to 2,712. Standard and Poor's 500 futures dipped 1.40 points to 1,396.80.
China's consumer-price index fell to 1.8 percent in July from 2.2 percent in June, and the data strengthened hopes for further policy easing from Beijing.
On the U.S. economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits fell for the week ended August 4, a government data showed. Jobless claims declined 6,000 to 361,000 last week from a revised 367,000 the previous week, while economists projected 370,000 applications. The Department of Commerce reported that the trade gap for June narrowed more than forecast to $42.9 billion from $48.0 billion in May, while economists expected the deficit to stand at $47.5 billion.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks closed on a flat note as a set of downbeat economic readings from Europe and some negative corporate news weighed on the sentiment.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: KSS, NWS, MNST, AMGN, SPWR, MDRX
In corporate news, Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS) reported a 20 percent decline in second-quarter earnings amid drop in sales and margins and that the department stores operator reduced its full-year forecast. Yet, the bottom-line beat market expectations. Shares added 0.85 percent in premarket.
News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) retreated 3.04 percent in premarket after the New York-based media company posted a hefty loss in the fourth quarter mainly due to write-down of its publishing businesses.
Monster Beverage Corp. (NASDAQ:MNST) tumbled 7.41 percent in premarket after the Corona, California-based energy drinks company posted quarterly earnings that missed market expectations amid margin contraction.
Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) may be in focus after the Thousand Oaks, California-based company ended a late-stage trial of its ganitumab treatment for a type of pancreatic cancer. An independent committee overseeing the trial concluded that the addition of ganitumab to gemcitabine is unlikely to show a statistically significant improvement in primary targets of the stfudy.
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR) plunged 9.38 percent in premarket after the San Jose, California-based maker of solar electric systems forecast a loss for the third quarter.
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:MDRX) rallied 16.46 percent in premarket after the Chicago, Illinois-based clinical software provider lifted its earnings guidance for the full year.
European markets traded mixed, with Germany's DAX off 0.58 percent to trade at 6,925.97. France's CAC40 dipped 0.09 percent to 3,435.02. U.K.'s FTSE 100 inched up 0.02 percent to trade at 5,847.24.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index rose 0.61 percent to finish at 2,174.10. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.10 percent to end at 8,978.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.02 percent to end at 20,269.47. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,560.87, down 0.23 percent.
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures declined 0.56 percent to $93.15 per barrel. Gold futures lost 0.30 percent to $1,607.900 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.47 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2307 and the British pound slipped 0.22 percent against the greenback to 1.5622. The dollar gained 0.24 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.6200.