U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, looking to add to gains in the previous session after the Federal Reserve pledged to keep rates low for an extended period and Visa reported strong quarterly results.
The Fed was also more upbeat about the U.S. economy and employment prospects, which helped to boost bank shares.
There's a better feeling out there, and the fact that the Fed continues to stay on a steady course is contributing to enthusiasm, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
Dow component Procter & Gamble Co posted a better profit than it anticipated, but the stock slid 1.5 percent to $62.20 in premarket trading.
Both Aetna Inc and Visa Inc reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations, and Visa raised its revenue outlook.
The earnings show that corporate America is quite optimistic, and that's really helping the market, Cardillo said.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.6 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 jumped 43 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 7.5 points.
Exxon Mobil Corp is scheduled to report quarterly results later Thursday, and investors awaited weekly jobless claims data, which could provide insight into the strength of the labor market.
Technology stocks will be in focus a day after Hewlett-Packard Co said it will buy Palm Inc for $1.2 billion, sending Palm shares surging 26 percent to $5.81 in premarket trading.
Financial stocks will also be in the spotlight after U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed a unanimous Senate vote to take up a sweeping financial reform bill.
Other economic data on tap includes the U.S. national activity index for March at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City manufacturing index for April at 11:00 a.m. EDT.
In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> of top shares was up nearly 1 percent in early trading. European stocks were pummeled following debt downgrades for Spain on Wednesday, and Greece and Portugal on Tuesday.
Hong Kong shares ended lower, tracking a late sell-off in Chinese stocks.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)