Federal Reserve's business outlook survey, out at 10 a.m. as well, is expected to show an improvement to minus 3 for December from minus 10.7 in November.
Simultaneously, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Indicators Index is predicted to have declined to minus 0.2% in November after increasing 0.2% in October.
Also out at 10 a.m. is the Federal Housing Finance Agency's housing price index for October.
The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.06% and the DAX in Germany was lower by 0.03% after major European indices soared to fresh 2012 highs the prior session.
The Asian markets finished mixed as the amount by which the Bank of Japan expanded its asset-buying program fell short of some investors' expectations. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up by 0.16% and Japan's Nikkei average finished off 1.19% Thursday.
Gold for February delivery was up 50 cents at $1,668.20 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while February crude oil contracts were down 10 cents at $89.88 a barrel.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was rising 9/32, diluting the yield to 1.775%. The dollar was off 0.06%, according to the
U.S. dollar index
In corporate news,
, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange, announced that it has agreed to be bought by rival
(ICE - Get Report)
for $33.12 a share in stock and cash, or a total of about $8.2 billion.
IntercontinentalExchange shares were tumbling more than 4% in premarket trading Thursday while NYSE Euronext shares were not yet active.
Bed Bath & Beyond
on Wednesday issued forecasts for the fourth quarter and
fiscal year that were below analysts' views.
Shares were shedding 5%.
posted fiscal first-quarter earnings on Wednesday that
topped Wall Street estimates.
Shares were jumping more than 4.5%.
An experimental therapy from
failed to improve kidney response in Fabry disease patients compared to placebo in a late-stage study, the companies disclosed late Wednesday.
Amicus shares were plunging by more than 43.5%.
(CAG - Get Report)
posted second-quarter earnings of 57 cents a share on revenue of $3.74 billion, beating the average analyst estimate of 55 cents a share on revenue of $3.69 billion, on robust sales from its consumer foods business.