Stock index futures rose on Thursday with the spotlight on a European summit that could set the blueprint for aid to debt-laden Greece, while investors awaited data on the health of the labor market.
Concern over the debt crisis in Greece has dampened confidence, and equity markets have been sensitive to statements and reports of potential aid. European Union leaders were meeting to lay the foundations for a financial bailout of Greece at a summit in Brussels, but any aid will require deep fiscal and economic adjustments by Greece.
Several key euro zone officials have reached a deal to help Greece in its debt crisis, European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said.
On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for last week at 8:30 a.m. EST. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 465,000 new filings, compared with 480,000 in the prior week.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.9 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 were up 30 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 5 points.
Stocks dipped on Wednesday as worries over Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments on a strategy once the economy recovers offset optimism about a possible rescue for Greece.
Highlighting the weakness of the labor market, President Barack Obama warned the country's recovery would not be complete until more people find work and the United States borrows less money.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr, editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)