China confirmed that exports jumped in May, reassuring investors about the economy's strength in the face of the euro-zone debt crisis. Europe is China's biggest overseas market.
It's official and the news out of China just confirms the United States and Asia continue to perform and the fear the global economy is in a double-dip recession is exaggerated, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
S&P 500 futures rose 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 73 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 14 points.
The euro added 0.5 percent versus the dollar as strong demand in a Spanish auction eased concerns about how the country will fund its large debt. The European Central Bank kept interest rates at 1.0 percent as expected.
The announcements out of the ECB could be a little bit crucial for the euro today. Any further gains in the euro could contribute to solid gains (in the market), added Cardillo.
U.S, stocks have been closely tied to the movement in the euro as investors use the currency as a barometer for confidence in the euro-zone economy.
At 8:30 a.m. EDT, investors will eye the latest weekly initial jobless claims numbers and April international trade data.
Economists forecast a drop in claims to 448,000 from last week's reported 453,000. Analysts expect the trade deficit to increase to $41 billion from the prior $40.42 billion.
U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc jumped 12.4 percent to $32.81 in premarket trade, a day after tumbling to a 14-year low on concerns about its costs from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is to testify before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on the future of U.S. economic relations with China at 10 a.m. EDT.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Pfizer Inc about failing to quickly report serious and unexpected potential side effects from its drugs already on the market. Pfizer shares added 0.9 percent to $14.65 in premarket.
Del Monte Foods Co and National Semiconductor Corp are expected to report quarterly figures Thursday.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)