* Futures down: Dow 78 pts, S&P 10.5 pts, Nasdaq 23 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower on Thursday ahead of the long Easter weekend as a stronger dollar weighed on commodities.
* The dollar was on track for its best streak of gains in almost a year after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers suggested more than one increase in interest rates this year.
* The comments by Fed officials come one week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen adopted a cautious tone on raising rates and said the central bank remains data dependant and wary of weak global financial and economic conditions.
* St Louis Fed President James Bullard is slated to speak on the U.S. economy and monetary policy. Bullard, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, said on Wednesday that he remains wary of raising rates when inflation expectations are falling.
* Oil prices, which had recovered from a rout that sent both benchmarks to multi-year lows, fell below $40 a barrel as U.S. crude inventories touched record highs.
* Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday as a five-week rally, which had pushed the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average into positive territory for the year, lost momentum.
* The S&P was down 0.35 percent for the year, while the Dow held on to a small gain for 2016.
* Investors will now look to the data to gauge the health of the economy as they begin to price in the possibility of more rate hikes in 2016 than anticipated.
* A report due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) on durable goods orders is expected to show orders fell 2.9 percent in February.
* Also due at the same time are jobless claims numbers for last week. Unemployment benefits likely rose by 3,000 to 268,000.
* Range Resources shares were down 3.8 percent at $30.01 in premarket trading after Barclays downgraded the stock to “underweight.”
* Yahoo was up 1.1 percent at $34.80 after Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock.
Futures snapshot at 6:58 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 78 points, or 0.45 percent, with 26,242 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 10.5 points, or 0.52 percent, with 157,111 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 23 points, or 0.52 percent, on volume of 17,360 contracts. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)