NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were trading little changed Thursday after the European Central Bank kept its key refinancing rate at a record low of 0.05% and the markets awaited more details on the ECB's quantitative easing plans. U.S. jobless claims fell more than expected by 8,000 to 287,000 last week, bringing the four-week moving average down to 294,750, the Labor Department reported.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
Watch the video below for a look at how futures are faring before the open Thursday:S&P 500
ECB President Mario Draghi said during Thursday's post-meeting press conference that the bank has laid out the main details of its asset-backed securities and covered bonds purchase programs, but didn't divulge much information beyond that in his opening statement. He said he expects these to be two-year programs, with the asset-backed securities purchases starting in the fourth quarter and the buying of covered bonds to begin in mid-October. He once again reinforced the ECB's openness to additional stimulus measures and unconventional tools if needed.
Stocks were pummeled Wednesday after investors lost confidence amid a confluence of factors consisting of the geopolitical flare-up in China, soft economic reports out of Europe, weaker-than-expected U.S. data and Fed rate hike concerns.
The S&P 500 dropped 1.3%, nearly matching the decline for all of September.
During the current bull market, the first trading day of each month was usually a good one for stocks more often than not on better-than-expected manufacturing PMI news, according to Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research. Wednesday's manufacturing PMI data coming in less than expected coupled with worries that the economy, corporate profits and the bond markets could turn wobbly after the Federal Reserve's first rate hike helped drive the session's selloff in a big way.
"We aren't turning bearish, just less bullish about the upside prospects of the stock market over the rest of the year given the concerns," said Yardeni. "We want to see how they play out over the next few months." Yardeni is leaving his year-end target for the S&P at 2,014, where it was on an intraday basis on Sept. 19. He is sticking with 2,300 for next year, for now.
In top company headlines, Pacific Investment Management Co. said investors withdrew a record $23.5 billion from its flagship Pimco Total Return Fund last month, with most of the withdrawals taking place last Friday, the day Bill Gross resigned from the firm and announced he was joining Janus (JNS) .
Pimco's parent company, Allianz (AZSEY) , announced on Thursday that Michael Diekmann will step down as CEO of the company in May 2015 and be replaced by global property and casualty chief, Oliver Bate.
The NFL extended its contract with DirecTV (DTV) to carry the "Sunday Ticket" package, which allows viewers to watch out-of-market games. AT&T (T) is in the process of acquiring DirecTV for $48.5 billion, making the expanded possibilities for mobile particularly attractive. DirecTV rose 1.4%. AT&T edged up 0.34%.
Coca-Cola (KO) is overhauling its executive-compensation plan before it goes into effect next year, scaling back stock options and shifting to more cash-based performance awards, The Wall Street Journal reported. Shares were flat.
-- By Andrea Tse in New York