Dow Jones industrial futures are down 6 points to 13,892. The broader S&P futures slipped a tenth of a point to 1,505.20. Nasdaq futures are up 3.75 points to 2,745.75.
The Commerce Department reports Friday on the December trade deficit. Economists expect that the deficit narrowed, which would signal slightly stronger growth than was originally thought.
A decline in exports, notably in November, is one of the reasons that the economy shrank at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter.
Another reason was the reluctance of business owners to build stockpiles. Commerce will reveal how much wholesalers adjusted those stockpiles in December.