U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Thursday.
Futures for the S&P 500 down 0.4 percent, while Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 contracts shed 0.1 percent at 0923 GMT.
European shares edged up on Thursday, bolstered by a string of upbeat earnings reports from UK companies including heavyweight oil major Royal Dutch Shell .
Japan's Nikkei average edged up as a pick up in Chinese manufacturing helped heavy machinery makers and shippers, offsetting weakness in Panasonic Corp <6752.T>.
Big Asian economies are slowly picking up after a year spent battling against global headwinds, according to business surveys and data released on Thursday that showed renewed vim from China's factory sector and a rebound in South Korean exports.
Oil major Exxon Mobil, which spent billions in the third quarter to acquire oil and gas assets in North America, is expected to report quarterly earnings per share of $1.95 on Thursday, down $2.13, hit by a 32 percent drop in U.S. natural gas prices.
Pfizer, hobbled by generic competition for its Lipitor cholesterol fighter, is forecast to post sharply lower quarterly sales and EPS of $0.53, down for $0.62 one year earlier. Analysts will be focused on cost cutting and the company's new and experimental treatments for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bailed-out insurer AIG, restaurant chain Starbucks and food group Kellogg are also among the 41 S&P 500 companies due to publish results on Thursday.
U.S. retailers report October sales, with numbers from Costco , Gap, Macy's and a dozen or so other U.S. retailers will set the stage for the all-important holiday shopping season. The market also gets monthly auto sales from the U.S. and Canada.
The precursor to the closely watched U.S. non-farm payrolls report on Friday, ADP is expected to say employment growth in the private sector slowed modestly in October to 135,000 new jobs, compared to 162,000 in the previous month. The report will be published at 1215 GMT.
ISM manufacturing data due at 1400 GMT is expected to show activity in the sector expanded for the second month in a row after shrinking over the summer months, though the pace of growth is expected to have slowed to 51.2 from 52.5 in September.
The Conference Board releases its monthly Consumer Confidence Index at 1400, expected to come in at 72.5 from 70.3 the month before.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 10.75 points, or 0.08 percent, to 13,096.46 on Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained just 0.22 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 1,412.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 10.72 points, or 0.36 percent, to end at 2,977.23.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa)