* Futures down: Dow 8 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 31 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, the last day of a turbulent first quarter for financial markets as investors fled from risk amid worries about global growth.
* Global stocks fell, while safe-haven gold and bonds rose as investors closed off positions for the quarter.
* Investors’ nerves were soothed this week by U.S. Federal Reserve Chief Janet Yellen’s comments that the central bank should be cautious with raising interest rates.
* Yellen’s remarks helped quell speculation that the Fed could be aggressive with its plan to raise rates and pushed stocks to their highest this year.
* The S&P 500 is now up nearly 1 percent for the year after being down as much as 10.5 percent in February.
* While recent data has signaled strength in the labor market, the critical non-farm payrolls report on Friday will give investors a clearer reading on the state of the economy.
* Data due on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims held steady at 265,000 last week, well below the 300,000 mark denoting a healthy labor market.
* Investors are also concerned about tepid corporate earnings growth and will keep a close eye on the quarterly reports that are set to start rolling in next month.
* New York Fed President William Dudley and Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans are slated to speak at separate events on Thursday. Evans, who has supported Yellen’s position, said there was a high hurdle to raising rates in April given low inflation.
* Shares of Square Inc were down 2.1 percent at $14.70 after BTIG cut its rating on the stock to “neutral”.
Futures snapshot at 6:55 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.05 percent, with 22,028 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 2 points, or 0.1 percent, with 152,629 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.11 percent, on volume of 16,695 contracts. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)