Futures on major U.S. indices point to a higher opening on Thursday ahead of economic data including weekly jobless claims.

S&P 500 futures are up 0.21 percent, Dow Jones industrial average futures are up 0.14 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures are up 0.24 percent.

Initial jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT., are expected to fall by 8,000 to 380,000 in the week ended April 28. The numbers come a day ahead of the April payrolls report and a day after a weak reading on private sector hiring. ADP said private sector employers added 119,000 workers to their payrolls in April, compared with a downwardly revised 201,000 jobs added in March.

At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is expected to report at an April reading on the nonmanufacturing sector that shows the index retreated to 55.2 in April from 56.0 in March. A reading above 50 indicates the economy is generally expanding.

Meanwhile, several companies are scheduled to report financial results on Thursday, including American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT), Viacom Inc. (Nasdaq: VIA), Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE: KFT), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM).

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow ended lower Wednesday after weaker-than-expected economic reports from the U.S. and Europe dampened investor sentiment.

European stock markets were trading higher with London's FTSE 100 up by 30.79 points, Germany's DAX30 up by 76.49 points and France's CAC 40 up by 42.04 points.