* Ukraine in view as Russia seizes naval bases
* Jabil Circuit outlook tops expectations
* Jobless claims, housing data both on tap
* Futures down: Dow 45 pts, S&P 5.6 pts, Nasdaq 11.5 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 20 U.S. stock index futures were
lower on Thursday as investors continued to digest recent
comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who raised the
specter of an earlier-than-expected rate hike.
* Wall Street fell on Wednesday, snapping a two-day advance
that had taken the S&P 500 near record levels, after the central
bank made clear that it would rely on a wide range of measures
in deciding when to raise interest rates, dropping the
unemployment rate as its definitive metric.
* Yellen said the "considerable period" between the end of
the Fed's bond-buying stimulus program and the first rate
increase from the central bank could be six months. Many
analysts had been expecting the first increase to come in the
second half of 2015.
* Geopolitical concerns also continued to weigh on sentiment
as Russian troops seized two Ukrainian naval bases, including a
headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. The United
States warned Russia that it was on a "dark path" to isolation
in the biggest crisis between the two countries since the Cold
* While few U.S. companies have outsized exposure to the
region, investors are concerned about the fallout to any
escalation in tension.
* S&P 500 futures fell 5.6 points and were below fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 45
points and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 11.5 points.
* The S&P 500 is within 1 percent of its record closing
high, though volume has been anemic on positive market days,
suggesting limited conviction behind the move.
* Volume is expected to surge on Friday as options
expiration takes place alongside multiple index rebalances.
Credit Suisse estimates $14 billion in gross trading will stem
from the S&P 500 index rebalance, with another $6 billion coming
from rebalancing in other indexes.
* Investors are also looking ahead to the latest economic
data, with weekly jobless claims on tap for release at 8:30 a.m.
(1230 GMT) Claims are seen rising by 10,000 to 325,000.
* February existing home sales and the March business
activity index from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve are both
scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Both are seen rebounding from
weakness in the previous month.
* Jabil Circuit Inc forecast 2015 core earnings
above Wall Street estimates as the struggling contract
electronics maker expects to recover from the loss of its
business with BlackBerry Ltd .
* Deutsche Bank is on track to meet its 2015
investment banking targets, it said after restating its 2013
results to include around 350 million euros ($487 million) of
settlement costs and around 50 million more to cover impaired
assets. U.S. shares of the bank fell in light premarket trading.
* U.S. shares of GlaxoSmithKline fell 1.7
percent to $53.78 in premarket trading after an experimental
cancer vaccine failed in a second test, though the British
pharmaceutical company said it still hoped to identify a
sub-group of patients in which it would work.