NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were lower on Thursday as jobless claims hit a four-week high and markets continued to digest signs the Federal Reserve will push a rate hike out to later this year.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.14%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.11%, and Nasdaq futures slipped 0.22%.
Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 15 climbed 10,000 to a four-week high of 274,000. Economists had expected claims to climb to 269,000. The measure, however, remained near 15-year lows.
Investors are "getting confused by what they believe the consensus of the Fed is," said Kevin Mahn, chief investment officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management, in a call on Wednesday. "The Fed ... [is] putting the doubt back in that it may not happen in June. The question then becomes, does it happen in September? If second-quarter GDP disappoints, does it happen in 2015 at all?"
Chinese markets shot higher on hopes the People's Bank of China will introduce further monetary stimulus as the manufacturing sector continued to contract. The HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI increased to 49.1 in May, up from 48.9 in April though it remained under 50 which signals contraction.
European markets were mixed after Eurozone PMI data disappointed. Markit Economics' purchasing managers' indices for May came in below expectations, with the composite PMI index declining to a three-month low of 53.4. German figures disappointed, while French data came in ahead of expectations. Click here for more.
Best Buy (BBY) surged more than 8% in premarket trading after earning 37 cents a share in its recent quarter, above forecasts of 29 cents. Revenue of $8.56 exceeded estimates of $8.46 billion.
Salesforce.com (CRM) was also moving higher before the bell after posting quarterly net income of 16 cents a share, well above estimates of 2 cents. Revenue climbed 23% to $1.51 billion, only slightly higher than forecasts.
Lumber Liquidators (LL) plummeted more than 22% after CEO Robert Lynch resigned. Founder Thomas Sullivan will assume the CEO position. The company has been in strife for months since a 60 Minutes report accused the company of unsafe flooring products.
BP (BP) was more than 1% higher after settling with Halliburton (HAL) and Transocean (RIG) over claims related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Transocean will get $125 million compensation for legal claims, though will have to pay nearly double that into a fund compensating victims of the spill.
Airline stocks were moving higher, recovering from two days of losses. The sector was shaky after Southwest Airlines (LUV) said it would increase capacity, fueling concerns carrier growth could outpace travel demand. Click here for more.