U.S. equity futures were trading lower ahead of the release of major eocnomic data.

The major futures indexes suggested a decline of 0.2% when the Thursday trading session begins on Wall Street.

A number of economic reports could decide the direction of trading.

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The Commerce Department will release the second estimate of 1Q GDP. The Refinitiv forecast is for a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 6.5%. That’s slightly higher than the first estimate of 6.4%, and well ahead of 4Q 2020’s 4.1% growth rate.

At the same time the Labor Department will be out with its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 425,000, down from a pandemic low of 444,000 the prior week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are anticipated to drop by 71,000 to 3.680 million.

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The Census Bureau is expected to say that new orders for manufactured big-ticket items rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7% month-over-month in April, slightly trailing March’s 1.0% increase. If you factor out the transportation component, orders are anticipated to rise 0.8%, well below March’s 2.3% spike. 

Finally, the National Association of Realtors will publish its index of pending home sales for April.  Economists anticipate a 0.8% month-over-month increase, less than half the 1.9% gain in March. 

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It will another big day for retail earnings, with Best Buy, Dollar General, Burlington Stores and Dollar Tree reporting ahead of the opening bell. 

After the close watch for Costco, Gap and Ulta Beauty. 

Some big technology names will also post results, including Dell Technologies, HP and Dow member Salesforce.com. 

In Europe, London's FTSE is lower by less than 0.1%, Germany's DAX is off 0.4% and France's CAC added 0.4%.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.3%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.2% and China's Shanghai Composite index edged up 0.4%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change % I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34323.05 +10.59 +0.03%SP500 S&P 500 4195.99 +7.86 +0.19%I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13737.995536 +80.82 +0.59%

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 ended just under 0.2% higher after wavering between small gains and losses.

The S&P 500 rose 7.86 points to 4,195.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which turned 125 years old Wednesday, gained less than 0.1% to 34,323.05. The Nasdaq added 0.6% to 13,738. 

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In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude declined 63 cents to $65.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 14 cents to $66.21 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 59 cents to $68.28 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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