Stock futures rose on Thursday as the latest earnings season got off to a positive start after Alcoa posted a surprise profit and as surging commodity prices underpinned a global equity advance.

Reassuring monthly sales from major U.S. retailers added to the positive tone.

Before the bell, shares of Alcoa Inc shot up 5.2 percent to $14.94, a day after the Dow component posted its first profit in a year on cost savings and higher aluminum prices.

In other earnings news, PepsiCo Inc
reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on higher volume in snacks and beverages, sending its shares up 1.2 percent to $61.90 before the bell.

It appears to be a robust start to the earnings season. For the moment, investors are optimistic and are looking for the bright spots, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

With the dollar's weakness continuing to fuel commodity speculation, this will continue to give the market an upward bias.

S&P 500 futures rose 8.10 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 gained 66 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11.50 points.

The rise in index futures suggested Wall Street would open up nearly 1 percent, following gains in Asian stocks overnight and a rise of about 1 percent in European issues.

Gold prices rallied to a record for a third successive session on persistent weakness in the U.S. dollar. Spot gold touched a record of $1,058.20 an ounce and lifted silver and palladium.

U.S. front-month crude jumped 1 percent to trade above $70 a barrel. On the economic front, the government is due to report weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Department store operator Macy's Inc posted a smaller-than-expected 2.3 percent drop in September same-store sales. Its stock rose 2.2 percent $19 before the bell.

American Eagle Outfitters Inc's September same-store sales were flat, but raised its third-quarter profit outlook. Its shares rose 3.5 percent to $17.25.

Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England left interest rates at a record lows on Thursday.

In Australia, employment surged past expectations in September, and the jobless rate dropped in what might be a surprisingly early turning point, adding to the case for more interest rates rises this year.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)