Stock index futures rose on Thursday as quarterly results, including a brighter outlook from 3M Co, gave investors confidence that the earnings season will remain strong ahead of key jobs and housing market data.

The recent batch of corporate results has lifted stocks, with the Nasdaq closing on Wednesday at an 11-day winning streak, its longest such run since 1996.

As earnings have been satisfying investors, the focus today will shift to existing home sales, another part of the economy that has weighed down in the past, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in Princeton, New Jersey.

Bakhos added that investors have been looking to jobless claims for clues on the bottoming of the labor market and that strong jobs and existing home sales data would provide more solid footing to the recent market gains.

The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for last week at 8:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT), while the National Association of Realtors is scheduled to post existing home sales for June at 10 a.m. EST (1400 GMT).

Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 550,000 new jobless claims compared with 522,000 in the prior week and on the housing data, forecast a 4.84 million annualized unit total versus 4.77 million annualized units in May.

S&P 500 futures were up 4 points and were above 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 rose 39

points and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 4.75 points.

Helping the Dow futures, 3M shares rose 2.5 percent to $66.27 in premarket trade after the diversified manufacturer handily beat Wall Street's profit expectations and lifted its revenue outlook for 2009.

Later on Thursday, other bellwethers including Microsoft Corp , American Express Co and Inc , are also expected to report quarterly earnings.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co announced late Wednesday it will buy biotechnology company Medarex Inc . Medarex shares soared 90 percent on the buyout news. Bristol-Myers shares also rose premarket, 3.5 percent to $20.98, after it reported second-quarter results on Thursday.

Shares of eBay Inc jumped more than 6 percent in premarket trading after the company reported on Wednesday results that beat market expectations.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)