Stocks to Register Lower as Trade Talks Continue

U.S. stock futures were slightly lower Thursday as trade talks between the U.S. and China continue.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 27 points, or 0.1%, at 25,937.

Futures for the S&P 500 slid 3.5 points, or 0.1%, to 2,783.50

NASDAQ futures fell 5.5 points, or 0.1%, to 7,067.75

In terms of earnings, Chinese tech giant Baidu and American food firm Kraft Heinz are set to report results after the bell Thursday.

On the data front, a flurry of economic reports is expected throughout the day. Jobless claims, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, durable goods orders, manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) and services PMI are due later this morning.

Reports early Thursday morning said Washington and Beijing have begun drawing up memorandums of understanding over trade. Officials from both countries met for talks this week and higher-level discussions are set to be held on Thursday and Friday.

The U.S. and China are trying to resolve their differences over trade ahead of a March 1 deadline. However, speculation has risen that there may be an extension to that target, after President Donald Trump said it was not a "magical date."

Investors also digested the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting. The central bank highlighted downside risks to the economy from its January meeting.

Overseas, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 inched up 0.2% Thursday, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.4%.

Oil prices seven cents to $57.23 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices stumbled $10.10 to $1,337.80 U.S. an ounce.