LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures pointed to a weaker start on Wall Street on Thursday, mirroring minimal losses in Europe, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 down 0.03 to 0.3 percent.
* The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended Oct. 13 at 1230 GMT. Economists forecast a total of 365,000 new filings, compared with 339,000 in the prior week.
* China likely hit the bottom of a seven-quarter long economic downturn between July and September, but the slowest three months of growth since the depths of the financial crisis and a cloudy housing market outlook make recovery prospects tepid.
* European leaders will try to bridge deep differences over plans for a banking union at a summit on Thursday but no substantial decisions are expected, reviving concerns about complacency in tackling the three-year-old debt crisis.
* Verizon Communications Inc posted higher quarterly revenue on strength in its wireless business after it raised wireless data pricing and started selling the latest Apple Inc iPhone.
* Morgan Stanley reports third-quarter earnings, which are expected to be bolstered by higher stock and bond prices. Other major companies announcing results include Google , Microsoft and Advanced Micro Devices.
* The Conference Board releases its report on September leading economic indicators at 1400 GMT. Economists forecast a 0.2 percent rise, against a 0.1 percent drop in August.
* Sprint Nextel is negotiating a deal with its partner Clearwire that would give Sprint control of Clearwire without an acquisition, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
* Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank releases September business activity survey at 1400 GMT. Economists forecast a reading of 1.0, versus -1.9 in August.
* American Express Co shares were down 1.7 percent after the bell on Wednesday following the release of its results. The company’s third-quarter profit rose only marginally and spending growth remained muted for the second quarter running as corporate executives cut spending on travel and entertainment.
* EBay Inc reported strong quarterly results late on Wednesday, but the e-commerce company gave a cautious forecast for the crucial holiday season amid a brewing price war between big retailers and rival Amazon.com Inc. EBay shares were down 4.1 percent after the bell.
* European shares fell 0.1 percent on Thursday on concerns over corporate earnings.
* The S&P 500 rose for the third consecutive day on Wednesday after housing starts hit a four-year high, but the Dow was weighed down by IBM after it posted weak revenue.
* The Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to 13,557 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 5.99 points, or 0.41 percent, to finish at 1,460.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 2.95 points, or 0.10 percent, to close at 3,104.12.