PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat to lower open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.03 percent, Dow Jones (DJI: ^DJI - news) futures down 0.02 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.3 percent at 0917 GMT.
* European shares and the euro currency fell on Thursday, hurt by concerns about Cyprus, but a pick-up in Chinese factory activity and the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to its loose policy stance limited the losses.
* On the macro front, investors awaited U.S. weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT, as well as monthly home sales, due at 1400 GMT, and lead indicators, due at 1400 GMT.
* Shares in J.C. Penney Co Inc will be in focus after the retailer said in an annual report filed on Wednesday that fixing its performance could take more time than it initially believed and suggested that any change in its strategy could be expensive.
* Apparel retailers Guess Inc, Tilly's Inc and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc (NasdaqGS: PSUN - news) forecast first-quarter results significantly below analysts' estimates as they battle flagging consumer demand due to a sluggish economy and higher payroll taxes. Shares in Guess fell 5 percent to $25.55 in extended trade, while Tilly's shares fell 10 percent to $12.35.
* Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJD - news) warned on Wednesday that its capital markets business so far this year is underperforming expectations and that clients of its core retail brokerage sector are not rushing back into the stock market.
* Visa Inc Chief Executive Charlie Scharf suggested on Wednesday that the payment network may impose a fee on digital wallet operators like PayPal, following rival MasterCard Inc . MasterCard said earlier this year that it plans a new fee for digital wallet operators starting in June. Shares of eBay Inc, owner of PayPal, the largest such operator, have been hit hard on concerns other payment networks may roll out similar fees, cutting into PayPal's profitability.
* A slim majority of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted on Wednesday for approval of Abbott Laboratories' implantable heart device MitraClip, saying it had more benefits than risks.
* Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) plans to conduct two flight tests of its revamped 787 battery system, possibly as soon as the end of the week, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The 787 flights, the first since February, would mark another step toward Boeing's recently announced goal of returning the grounded jet to service in a matter of weeks, not months.
* Blackstone Group LP, which is weighing an offer for Dell Inc (NasdaqGS: DELL - news) , is making an aggressive push to recruit Oracle Corp President Mark Hurd to be chief executive of the world's No. 3 PC maker, a person familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
* The U.S. tax treatment of complex financial derivatives would get a major overhaul under a proposal that won praise from experts on Wednesday, though industry officials have complained privately that it could raise costs.
* U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 snapping a three-day losing streak as the Federal Reserve reassured investors that it would keep supporting the economy.
* The Dow Jones industrial average gained 55.91 points, or 0.39 percent, to end at 14,511.73, after rising as high as 14,546.82, an intraday record. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 10.37 points, or 0.67 percent, to finish at 1,558.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 25.09 points, or 0.78 percent, to close at 3,254.19.