Earnings news will be in focus, with Microsoft <MSFT.O> and AT&T <T.N> among those reporting results.
Late on Wednesday, American Express Co's <AXP.N> third-quarter earnings beat expectations, while eBay <EBAY.O> gave a cautious outlook for the rest of the year as third-quarter revenue came in line with Wall Street expectations.
Merger and acquisition news is expected to be in the spotlight after Yahoo Inc <YHOO.O> advisers informed some potential buyers of the Internet company of a nondisclosure agreement, which would prevent them from discussing joint bids, according to people close to the situation.
The Wall Street Journal reported Microsoft was working with Silver Lake Partners <SILAK.UL> and the Canada Pension Plan Investment board on a joint bid for Yahoo.
The world's largest daily deals company, Groupon Inc, which was planning to raise up to $750 million in an initial public offering, is now cutting its size, three people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
Looking at macroeconomic news, U.S. weekly jobless claims are due at 1230 GMT, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's October business activity survey and U.S. existing home sales for September are released at 1400 GMT.
European shares trimmed losses on Thursday, after a guideline document said the region's EFSF rescue fund would be able to buy bonds on the secondary market, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> down 0.6 percent at 962.69 points.
The index had earlier been as low as 953.65.
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday on doubts about the euro zone's ability to come up with a comprehensive plan to solve its debt crisis and the Federal Reserve gave a weak economic outlook for the United States.
(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by David Hulmes)