U.S. Markets closed

Futures lower; Street eyes oil, central banks

CNBC.com staff
Spencer Platt | Getty Images. U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Tuesday morning as traders awaited a Federal Reserve meeting for further clues on monetary policy.

U.S. stock index futures indicated a lower open on Thursday morning, following declines in European markets.

"I think this is a global growth play and global growth scare that continues to show economies in the rest of the world struggling and investors are wondering if central banks are starting to run out of bullets," said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. "That's the trade. We don't think that's the case."

He also attributed some of the morning's decline to a pullback after several weeks of gains.

Major European stock indexes were slightly lower, with the STOXX Europe 600 off a third of a percent and the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index underperforming, trading about 1.4 percent lower.

Treasury yields were lower as the German 10-year bund yield fell.

The yen strengthened further against the U.S dollar, trading near 108.4 yen as of 8:56 a.m., ET, after hitting its strongest against the greenback since October 2014.

Read More Markets playing 'dangerous game' with this pair

Oil turned lower, with Brent crude (Intercontinental Exchange Europe: @LCO.1) off 30 cents near $39.50 while WTI was off 25 cents around $37.50 a barrel as of 8:53 a.m. ET. U.S. crude oil futures settled higher for a second-straight day on Wednesday, rising 5.2 percent for its biggest daily gain since March 16.

U.S. stocks closed near session highs Wednesday, led by gains in energy and health care stocks.

In a light day of economic reports, weekly jobless claims came in at 267,000.

Read More Kensho: One currency dictating market's direction

Thursday will also see an historic gathering, with current Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appearing alongside former chairmen Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker at 5:30 p.m. ET in New York. The program is entitled "When the Fed speaks, the world listens."

There'll also be more comment from Fed members later in the evening when Kansas City Fed President Esther George speaks at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Late Wednesday, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in a Reuters report the United States needs a long-term economic plan including tax and education reform to revive growth, not rely on more monetary or fiscal stimulus for a short-term boost.

On Wednesday,the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes from the March meeting suggested a divided central bank, with many policymakers showing caution towards an interest rate hike in April, while others indicated that it was justified.

Read More Early movers: BBBY, AAPL, VRX, CAG, MCD, S, LB, VZ, YHOO & more

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 0.22 percent, while the Shanghai Composite in China closed 1.35 percent lower. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was down 0.27 percent.

— CNBC's Patti Domm and Alex Gibbs contributed to this report

More From CNBC