In earnings news, ConAgra Foods turned a profit of 51 cents a share in the quarter, a penny better than expectations, though sales were a shade below expectations. Shares gained about 1 percent in light premarket trading.
On the downside, Celgene shares plunged more than 10 percent after the drugmaker said it is withdrawing its application for new uses for its Revlimid drug, but plans to resubmit its application with more "mature data."
TJX shares climbed following an upgrade to "outperform" from "market perform" at Wells Fargo, which also raised earnings estimates for the T.J. Maxx parent.
Overnight in Asia, the HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index , which tracks activity in the private sector, showed China's factory output contracted for an eighth straight month in June. Export orders and prices turned in their weakest showing since early 2009.
European equities fell about 0.5 percent in early trade on Thursday and stocks also sold off in Asia, dented by the weak Chinese data and disappointment over the extent of stimulus announced by the Fed.
The euro zone crisis remained in the spotlight, with Spain's medium-term borrowing costs hitting a new euro era high at a debt auction on Thursday, a few hours before Madrid sheds light on the state of its weaker banks and possibly makes a formal request for European Union funds to rescue them.Page 2 of 3 | Prev Page | Next Page