* Jobless claims rise for third straight week
* Pepsi, P&G, 3M blame strong dollar for missing estimates
* GM falls after revenue falls short of forecast
* Futures down: Dow 66 pts, S&P 6 pts, Nasdaq 9 pts (Adds comment, data, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
April 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to open lower on Thursday weighed by soft data out of Europe and China, while companies such as Procter & Gamble and 3M joined others in issuing disappointing forecasts.
A slight but unexpected rise in U.S. applications for unemployment insurance also pressured equity futures lower.
Business activity slowed more than expected in the euro zone this month while manufacturing in Asia’s top two economies hit the brakes, suggesting the global recovery path is less clear than policymakers are predicting.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 295,000 for the week ended April 18, above the forecast of 290,000.
The fall in European stock markets and the weaker PMI numbers across the board dragged futures lower on Wall Street according to Donald Ellenberger, head of multisector strategies at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh.
The unexpected tick up in weekly jobless claims “did add a bit to the weaker picture,” he said. “It is significant (because) it is the survey week for the payroll report we’ll get May 8, so that may be another reason why we see negative S&P futures.”
Data expected later on Thursday includes U.S. manufacturing data from Markit at 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT) and new home sales numbers for March at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT).
PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and 3M all blamed the strong dollar for missing estimates or cutting forecasts. P&G fell 2.4 percent to $81.06 in premarket trading, 3M fell 2.6 percent to $160.33 and Pepsi was down 0.3 percent at $97.01.
Facebook fell 1.8 percent to $83.09 a day after posting quarterly revenue that missed analysts estimates.
General Motors shares dropped 2.8 percent to $36.14 after the automaker’s revenue also fell short.
PulteGroup shares slid 5 percent to $20.60 after the homebuilder reported a surprise fall in quarterly profit.
Texas Instruments slumped 9 percent to $53.45 a day after it forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ expectations, citing weak demand and a strong dollar. Shares of other chipmakers also fell.
Earnings expected after the bell on Thursday include Amazon , Microsoft and Google.
Futures snapshot at 9:10 a.m. EDT (1310 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were down 5.75 points, or 0.27 percent, with 166,282 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 9.25 points, or 0.21 percent, in volume of 34,377 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were down 66 points, or 0.37 percent, with 33,390 contracts changing hands. (Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)