* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's nomination for a second term faces a decisive day in the Senate on Thursday, when his confirmation vote looks set to go ahead.
* In the speech, Obama put job creation at the top of his agenda, and while pledging tough new rules for Wall Street, he said he was not interested in punishing banks, backing off from fiery rhetoric.
* He promised not to abandon his struggle to overhaul healthcare, placing stocks in related sectors in the spotlight.
* S&P 500 futures rose 6.3 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 37 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.25 points.
* Procter & Gamble Co rose 1.4 percent to $61.66 in premarket trading after it reported quarterly results, while Ford Motor Co gained 5 percent to $12.13 after recording its first full-year profit since 2005.
* Dow components 3M Co and AT&T Inc also reported earnings.
* Investors looked ahead to a new round of economic data. Weekly initial jobless claims are seen falling from the prior week, while December durable good orders are expected to rise. The National Activity index for December is also on tap, with all the data scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. EST.
* Overseas, Nokia Corp reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations. U.S.-listed shares of the mobile phone maker surged 8.1 percent in premarket trading.
* Late Wednesday, Qualcomm Inc cut its revenue estimates, citing a slow economic recovery.
* Bernanke's nomination for a second term faces a decisive day in the Senate on Thursday. Polls show he has a majority needed to overcome efforts to block his nomination.
* U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after the Fed pledged to keep interest rates near zero, and Apple Inc unveiled a new portable computer.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)