U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday after data in China pointed to continued contraction and ahead of a flurry of domestic economic data.
* The HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest monthly indicator of China’s industrial activity, fell to a seven-month low of 48.1 as export orders sentiment hit its weakest level since early 2009. The reading marked the eighth straight month below 50, which signifies contraction.
* Domestic economic data includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. (ET). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 380,000 new filings compared with 386,000 in the prior week.
* Later in the session at 10:00 a.m., investors will look to the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s June business activity survey, the Conference Board’s May leading economic indicators and existing home sales for May from the National Association of Realtors, for signs of life in the flagging economic recovery.
* The Dow and S&P ended the prior session down slightly after the Federal Reserve delivered another round of monetary stimulus and said it was ready to do more to help a U.S. economic recovery that looks increasingly fragile, but refrained from announcing a third shot of quantitative easing.
* The benchmark S&P 500 index had risen for four straight session in anticipation of more stimulus measures.
* S&P 500 futures rose 0.7 point and were roughly even with fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 3 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 0.75 point.
* European shares traded lower in the wake of the Fed announcement as investors booked profits after a four-day run.
* Spanish government bond yields fell further on Thursday with markets relieved after the country raised over two billion euros at a debt auction, albeit with a sharp rise in borrowing costs. Madrid is expected to shed light on the dire state of its weaker banks and possibly makes a formal request for European Union funds to rescue them.
* Philip Morris International Inc revised its full year 2012 forecast, following in the footsteps of fellow large-cap multinationals PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble .
* Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc surged 35.7 per cent to $60.50 in premarket trading after U.S. drug advisers backed the company’s drug for patients who have failed to successfully treat their blood cancer with other medicines. Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc, which stands to receive royalties from sales of the drug, gained 6.5 per cent to $15.49 in light premarket trade.
* Asian stocks slipped on the Fed’s announcement and Chinese data.