Stock index futures rose on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track for its third straight day of gains as investors awaited a batch of economic data for signs the economy was slowly improving.
Final U.S. third-quarter gross domestic product data will be in the spotlight at 8:30 a.m. EST, with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting a 2.0 percent annualized pace of growth, a repeat of the preliminary estimate.
Other data on tap includes weekly jobless claims, also at 8:30 a.m, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers at 9:55 a.m. EST, and the November report on leading economic indicators from the Conference Board at 10 a.m. EST.
S&P 500 futures rose 6.5 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 was up 50 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.25 point.
Volume is expected to remain light as the Christmas holiday draws closer, leaving the market susceptible to heightened volatility.
European stocks rose 1.1 percent early Thursday, reversing the previous session's losses. Nagging worries over the euro zone debt crisis, despite the European Central Bank's massive loan operation on Tuesday, were seen capping the rebound. <.EU>
European Commission antitrust officials showed no signs of being swayed by Deutsche Boerse's
In Asia, shares fell as doubts remained over whether the ECB's loan operation would flow into struggling euro zone economies and help restore confidence.
Technology shares slumped Wednesday, pushing the Nasdaq down 1 percent after Oracle Corp's weak quarterly results cast doubts on the sector's health, even as broader markets closed mostly flat in a thinly traded day.
(Reporting By Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)