Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
The major futures indexes are indicating a decline of 0.3 percent when Wall Street begins trading.
Stocks fell in the last session on pessimism about life getting back to normal soon amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said further stimulus could be needed to support the economy's recovery from the economic contraction.
The Labor Department is expected to say that the number of claims for unemployment benefits fell for a sixth consecutive week to 2.5 million (estimates range from 2 million to 3.1 million). During the prior 7 weeks, since the coronavirus lockdowns began, some 33.48 million workers have filed jobless claims. Another 2.5 million would bring that total to 35.98 million.
In Asia on Thursday, Japan's Nikkei slipped 1.7 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.5 percent, China's Shanghai Composite was down 0.9 percent.
In Europe, London's FTSE fell 2.4 percent, Germany's DAX declined 1.9 percent and France's CAC dropped 2 percent.
Weighing on investor sentiments was Fed chair Powell's warning of a prolonged recession. Powell said the U.S. government may need to pump even more aid into the economy, which is bleeding millions of jobs every week.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||34200.67||+164.68||+0.48%|
Wall Street indexes suffered after players saw a quick rebound as less likely, with the S&P 500 falling 1.7 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.2 percent and the Nasdaq composite lost 1.5 percent.
U.S. benchmark crude gained $1.10 to $26.40 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 65 cents to $25.68 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.02 to $30.21 a barrel.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.