Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher opening for equities on Wall Street Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, for the Dow Jones and for the Nasdaq 100 up 0.1 to 0.2 percent.
The Labor Department is due to release at 8:30 a.m. EDT first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended October 29. Economists forecast a total of 400,000 new filings compared with 402,000 in the prior week.
NYSE Euronext, which is still in the throes of seeking regulatory support for its planned $9 billion merger with Deutsche Boerse, cited strong trading and technology sales as being behind a 54 percent rise in its third-quarter profit to $186 million.
The Labor Department also releases at 8:30 a.m. EDT preliminary Q3 Productivity and Unit Labor Costs data. Economists forecast productivity to rise 2.8 percent versus a 0.7 percent drop in the revised Q2 report. Unit Labor costs are expected to fall 0.8 percent compared with a 3.3 percent increase in the previous report.
U.S. online retailer Amazon.com said Kindle owners with an Amazon Prime membership will now get access to the company's new digital book library service.
Eastman Kodak is expected to post a quarterly loss of 44 cents per share, up from a loss of 2 cents per share in the same period last year. Other companies announcing results include Starbucks, American International Group and First Solar.
The Institute for Supply Management releases at 1400 GMT its October non-manufacturing index. Economists forecast a reading of 53.5 versus 53.0 in September.
The threat of a Greek exit from the euro zone hung over a meeting of G20 leaders on Thursday after France and Germany said Athens must decide urgently whether it wants to stay in the 12-year-old currency bloc.
Mario Draghi is expected to play safe at his first policy meeting as European Central Bank president on Thursday, seeking to project calm rather than being panicked into ramping up the bank's response to the escalating euro zone crisis.
The Commerce Dept releases at 10 a.m. EDT September factory orders. Economists in a Reuters survey expect a 0.1 percent fall compared with a 0.2 percent drop in August.
ICSC releases chain store sales for versus a year ago. In September, sales were up 5.5 percent versus a year earlier.
News Corp posted a better than expected quarterly profit because of cable television and Fox broadcast network fees, even as the family-controlled company grapples with questions of who will lead it once Rupert Murdoch steps aside. Its shares were up 2.3 percent after the bell when results were announced.
Shares in Zillow Inc and Qualcomm Inc were up 11 percent and 6.2 percent respectively in late trade on Wednesday following their results, while Whole Foods Market Inc and Dendreon Corp fell 7.3 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.
Groupon Inc is poised to price its initial public offering at $1 to $2 above its current range, responding to stronger than anticipated demand for the biggest U.S. IPO in months, three buyside sources said on Wednesday.
European share prices fell sharply in early trade on Thursday after France and Germany told Athens it would not receive its next aid tranche until a national referendum on an aid package had passed, sparking fears Greece could default and the crisis could spread to larger economies.
Share prices recovered later in the session with traders citing talk of the Greek government collapsing, thereby avoiding the referendum.
U.S. stocks rebounded from two days of sharp losses on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it is prepared to do more for the economy if conditions warrant, helping to stanch the panicky reaction to Europe's debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 178.08 points, or 1.53 percent, at 11,836.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 19.62 points, or 1.61 percent, at 1,237.90. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 33.02 points, or 1.27 percent, at 2,639.98.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Greg Mahlich)