, which leads another round of earnings reports, and data on the labor market and a leading economic index.
Goldman Sachs is set to report earnings at about 8 a.m. EST, with analysts in a Reuters survey forecasting the company to earn $5.20 per share.
Economic data expected Thursday includes U.S. weekly jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EST, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for December and January's Philadelphia Federal Reserve factory index at 10 a.m. EST.
The market is trying to get through this period of new worries and that is China leading the way in hiking interest rates, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
All in all a lot depends on the economic numbers today, along with the earnings, but if we see the dollar beginning to stabilize, you'll see the resumption of the upward market.
China easily beat its 2009 growth target after a blistering performance in the fourth quarter that forms a powerful springboard for it to jump over Japan this year to become the world's second-largest economy.
Weekly initial jobless claims are forecast to fall to 440,000, according to a Reuters survey, while the Philadelphia Fed business index is expected to drop to 18.0 from 22.5 in December.
President Barack Obama, fresh from his party's election defeat in the U.S. Senate, will propose stricter limits on financial risk-taking on Thursday in a move that may recall Depression-era curbs on banks.
Xerox Corp gained 2.9 percent to $9.15 after reporting its fourth-quarter results.
EBay Inc jumped 8.5 percent to $24.11 in premarket trade after the Internet auctioneer on Wednesday forecast 2010 results above expectations after posting double-digit revenue growth in PayPal and its main online marketplaces unit.
Also reporting late Wednesday was Starbucks Corp , which posted its first quarterly rise in U.S. same-store sales in two years, signaling that recession-weary consumers are spending more on small, daily luxuries. Starbucks shares climbed 3.5 percent to $24.10.
Other companies due to report include American Express Co , Capital One Financial Corp and Google Inc after the close.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.2 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 10 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3.50 points.
Most Asian stock markets fell on Thursday after investors worried that China would take more measures to temper growth after posting its fastest quarterly growth in two years.
European shares were flat in early trade on Thursday, with weakness in banks and miners just offsetting gains in defensive drugmakers, as investors stayed cautious ahead of further corporate earnings from the U.S.
The Dow suffered its worst drop of 2010 on Wednesday as U.S. stocks succumbed to fears that China's curbs on bank lending might jeopardize the global economic recovery, while IBM's outlook sparked caution about the technology sector.
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)