Futures little changed as Yellen comments awaited

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(Nov 12): US stock index futures were little changed on Thursday ahead of scheduled speeches by several Federal Reserve policymakers, including Chair Janet Yellen, and weekly jobless claims data.

* Investors will parse the data and policymakers' remarks for clues on if the central bank will raise interest rates next month, as is widely expected.

* Yellen is scheduled speak at 9.30am ET (1330 GMT). Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer are also scheduled to speak during the day.

* The Fed has maintained that it is likely to pull the trigger next month if data supports its view that the economy was strong enough to withstand higher rates.

* In contrast, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted on Thursday that the bank could extend stimulus programs at its policy meeting next month as inflation dynamics had somewhat weakened.

* US data due on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims benefits fell 6,000 to 270,000 last week, indicating continued improvement in the labor market. The data is due at 8.30am.

* US stocks closed lower on Wednesday, weighed down by a slide in energy stocks and brick-and-mortar retailers after Macy's weak results and forecast.

* Department store operator Kohl's reported better-than-expected quarterly net sales on Thursday, sending its shares up 9.13% to US$47.10 premarket.

* Advanced Auto Parts dropped 6.5% to US$182 after it reported quarterly profit below estimates.

* PayPal's shares were down 1.2% at US$35.90 after the Wall Street Journal reported Apple was in talks with US banks to develop a rival payment service.

* Nordstrom and Cisco are slated to report results after the close.

Futures snapshot at 7.28am ET:

* S&P 500 e-minis were unchanged, with 116,890 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1 point, or 0.02%, on volume of 20,292 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.1%, with 18,644 contracts changing hands.