U.S. futures were largely flat Thursday morning as the European Central Bank seems to be following in the Fed's footsteps and decided to leave rates unchanged.
Jobless claims in the U.S. last week fell by 4,000 to 259,000, which compared to estimates of 264,000.
Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) were down before the opening bell as it continues to dismantle itself. The company announced that it will spin off and merge its non-core software assets with Britain's Micro Focus International. The transaction is valued at approximately $8.8 billion; HPE shareholders will own 50.1% of the new combined company and Micro Focus will pay $2.5 billion cash to HPE. The new company will be one of the world's largest pure-play software names.
"We are taking another important step in achieving the vision of creating a faster-growing, higher-margin, stronger cash flow company well positioned for our customers and for the future," said HPE CEO Meg Whitman.
Analysts at Wells Fargo aren't bursting with excitement about Apple (AAPL) as they cut the stock's rating to Market Perform from Outperform. The downgrade comes a day after the tech giant unveiled its new iPhone 7 on Wednesday. Wells analysts believe the positives are largely unknown and the shares are likely to be range-bound. They noted that the water resistance and improved camera in the latest iPhone are "visibly more attractive," but added that those features were expected. The firm has a price target range between $105 and $120 for Apple -- which is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.
Meanwhile, shares of Intel (INTC) were rising slightly in premarket trading following news that it is spinning off its cybersecurity unit in a deal with TPG Capital. For a $1.1 billion equity investment, the private-equity firm will receive a 51% stake in the business, which Intel will spin off under the name McAfee. The transaction values McAfee's total equity at about $2.2 billion, and the entire company, including debt, at $4.2 billion.
Liberty Media Group (LMCA) shares were racing up by more than 5% after agreeing to buy Formula One Group for $4.4 billion. The two-step acquisition will merge Formula One, via its parent company Delta Topco, with Liberty's Liberty Media Group (LMCK) live-event division. The combined company will be renamed Formula One Group, and the current owners of Formula One will own approximately 65% of the new company's equity.
Finally, shares of Nike (NKE) were dropping before the bell after Piper Jaffray slashed its rating on the stock to Neutral from Overweight. "While we believe in the brand long-term, the resurgence of Adidas (ADDYY) has taken a toll on Nike's growth rate in the region," the analysts wrote in a note Thursday. They said they are also seeing other competition for the brand in Europe accelerate -- from the likes of Puma, New Balance and Reebok. The firm maintained its $58 price target on the shares.