U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.11 percent, Dow Jones futures unchanged and Nasdaq 100 futures down 0.11 percent at 4 a.m. EST.
On the earnings front, chipmaker Intel
Shares in financial institutions will be in focus as President Barack Obama will announce on Thursday plans to raise money from major financial firms to cover expected losses from a taxpayer-funded bank bailout.
Resource-related shares will be in the spotlight after mining major Rio Tinto
On the macro side, Australian employment blew past expectations for a fourth straight month in December while the jobless rate fell to an eight-month low, fuelling hopes of a swift recovery for the global economy.
Oil rose past $80 a barrel on Thursday as traders moved to cover short positions, taking advantage of a drop to 2010 lows the previous day on surprise gains in U.S. distillates and crude stocks.
Panasonic Corp <6752.T> has hired IBM Corp
The Nikkei average <.N225> booked its highest close in 15 months on Thursday, buoyed by tech firms such as Panasonic on hopes the upcoming U.S. earnings season will show a rebound in a key market for Japanese manufacturers, while European stocks rose 0.5 percent in morning trade, boosted by banking and mining shares, with investors bracing for the European Central Bank's interest rate decision and comments.
U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as investors bet on recently weakened technology and financial shares ahead of earnings from bellwethers Intel Corp
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 53.51 points, or 0.50 percent, to 10,680.77. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 9.46 points, or 0.83 percent, to 1,145.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 25.59 points, or 1.12 percent, to 2,307.90.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Mike Nesbit)