Private economists forecast that first-time applications for unemployment benefits fell to 378,000 last week. The Labor Department will also report Thursday on wholesale prices for March.
The toy maker Hasbro reported a 71 percent drop in its first-quarter earnings. Earnings reports are due out later in the day from grocery chain Supervalu and from Google.
Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures are down 42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,157. S&P 500 futures are down 6, or 0.4 percent, to 1,302. Nasdaq 100 futures are down 14, or 0.6 percent, to 2,295.
Stocks edged higher Wednesday after a Federal Reserve survey showed a rise in manufacturing, consumer spending and corporate hiring.