Futures on U.S. stock indices traded higher before the open as declining unemployment claims, combined with Wednesday's better than expected ADP employment data, eased investor sentiment ahead of Friday's unemployment rate report.
March futures of the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.07 percent and March futures of the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.19 percent at 9:00 am.
A weekly U.S. unemployment claims report cheered the market as claims fell for the first time in three weeks, declining by 29,000 to 469,000. On Wednesday, ADP reported that private non-farm payrolls declined the least in two years.
The two positive unemployment reports eased investor sentiment ahead of the Labor Department's non-farm payroll and unemployment rate report on Friday.
Important monetary policy decisions were also announced from Europe on Thursday.
As widely expected, The European Central Bank (ECB) left its interest rate unchanged at 1 percent and Bank of England (BOE) left its rate unchanged at 0.50 percent.
The Bank of England, as expected, also opted not to extend its quantitative easing program. It did reserve the right to extend the program if warranted by deteriorating economic conditions.
The German DAX and the U.K. FTSE 100 Index drifted lower after the announcements of these policies. Both indices are down slightly fort the day.
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