Stock Futures Drift Higher; Manufacturing Data on Tap

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Stock-index futures headed into the green on Thursday, a reprieve from four-straight days of losses, as traders kept a close eye on Europe and waited for an important manufacturing report.

Today's Markets

As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 19 points to 12591, S&P 500 futures gained 1.1 points to 1324 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 1.8 points to 2559.

The broad S&P 500 is on a four-day losing streak as well, closing out the day Wednesday at the lowest level since early February. The markets have been hit hard by worries that the deteriorating situation in Greece may cascade into other eurozone nations, such as Spain.

In Europe, stocks were broadly lower on the day, with bourses in Italy, Spain and Greece taking especially heavy selling. The euro also dropped 0.35% to $1.2671.

Wall Street is set to get several key pieces of economic data on the day.

The Labor Department said new claims for unemployment benefits remained unchanged at 370,000 last week from the week prior. Economists were expecting claims to rise to 367,000 from an initially reported 365,000. Analysts have been paying particularly close attention to the weekly reports amid signs the rate of job growth in the U.S. may be slowing down dramatically.

Later, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve is set to release its report on the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic region. The expansion across the sector is forecast to have picked up steam this month. Data from the New York Fed covering the Empire State region released earlier in the week came in well ahead of expectations.

Commodities markets were mixed. Crude oil traded in New York rose 43 cents, or 0.47%, to $93.25 a barrel. Wholesale New York harbor gasoline dipped 0.25% to $2.91 a gallon.

In metals, gold jumped $15.70, or 1%, to $1,552 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets 

Eurozone blue chips sold off by 1.1%, the English FTSE 100 dipped 1.1% to 5345 and the German DAX slipped 0.66% to 6342.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.86% to 8877 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged lower by 0.31% to 19201.