NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a flat to lower session on Wall Street Thursday as investors weigh whether this week's raft of mostly upbeat economic data may prompt the Federal Reserve to cut back on its stimulus program. 

  • S&P 500 futures were down 1.25 points, or 1.21 points below fair value, to 1,790.5. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were off 24 points, or 14.77 points below fair value, to 15,862. Nasdaq futures were up 3.5 points, or 3.34 points above fair value, to 3,486.
  • Joe Bell, senior equity analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research said: "The S&P 500 was up for the eight consecutive week last week, so it isn't a surprise to see the market take a bit of a breather this week."
  • Third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product, weekly initial jobless claims and factory orders were on the docket Thursday. Weekly initial jobless claims fell 23,000 to a better than expected 298,000 in the week of November 30 according to the Labor Department. Economists were looking for a rise to 325,000. The second estimate on third-quarter GDP registered at 3.6%, up from the 2.8% advanced estimate. October factory orders data from the Census Bureau could show a dip of 1% after gaining 1.7% the previous month.
  • Apple (AAPL) was tacking on 1.43% to $573.32 in premarket trading as The Wall Street Journal reported that China Mobile (CHL) signed a long-awaited deal with the smart devices giant to offer iPhones on its network. Also, activist investor Carl Icahn plans to submit a proposal for a $50 billion buyback of stock to Apple's shareholders at the tech giant's annual meeting, a source told CNBC. Ford F was also in the spotlight rising 0.9% to $16.76. The automaker plans to unveil the 2015 Mustang on Thursday morning at events in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Sydney, Barcelona and its hometown of Dearborn, Mich.
  • The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo slid from this week's almost six-year closing high, finishing down 1.5% to 15,177.49 as investors keep an eye on potential Fed action. Nevertheless, the benchmark has risen about 46% year to date and is on track for its strongest annual performance since 1972 thanks to the country's aggressive stimulus. The FTSE 100 was up 0.01% to 6,510.56 and the DAX in Germany was up 0.21% to 9,159.44 up cautiously as they tuned into a press announcement from European Central Bank Head Mario Draghi after the ECB and Bank of England as expected left their benchmark interest rates at record lows. There are growing expectations that Draghi will be under pressure to loosen up monetary policy further as euro-area inflation continues to cool.

-- Written by Andrea Tse

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