Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday after the New York Times reported the U.S. banking industry seems to be in better shape than many people think, citing officials involved in the federal stress tests.
* All 19 banks undergoing the tests will pass them, the paper reported, but many of the largest lenders probably need to be bailed out again by either private lenders or the federal government.
* Beleaguered automaker General Motors
* Costco Wholesale Corp
* Morgan Stanley's
* S&P 500 futures rose 6.50 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 gained 60 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 11.50 points.
* Economic data scheduled for today includes import prices for March and weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
* European shares were higher in choppy trade, with banks and commodity stocks gaining ahead of the Bank of England rate decision and U.S. jobless figures.
* Asian stocks pushed back toward a six-month high as technology shares resumed their rally, while Japan's record $154 billion stimulus plan and signs of stabilizing economic activity drove up government bond yields.
* U.S. stocks snapped a two-day slide on Wednesday on news the government is shoring up life insurers and optimism about consumer spending after Bed Bath & Beyond Inc
* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 47.55 points, or 0.61 percent, to 7,837.11. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 9.61 points, or 1.18 percent, to 825.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shot up 29.05 points, or 1.86 percent, to 1,590.66.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)