Stock index futures were higher on Thursday after better-than-expected quarterly profits from JPMorgan Chase & Co allayed concerns about the strength of the financial sector.
* JPMorgan's earnings jumped to $4.8 billion from $2.7 billion as loan loss reserves declined by $1.5 billion and it set the bar high for big banks.
* The stock rose 1.4 percent to $40.93 before the bell, while Bank of America Corp , a Dow component, added 1.6 percent at $15.92.
* Advanced Micro Devices Inc , Google Inc and W.W. Grainger Inc were all due to report as investors' focus returns to corporate profits a day after economic concerns were raised anew by Chinese data and comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
* Late Wednesday, Marriott International Inc reported second-quarter earnings that beat its own forecast.
* S&P 500 futures rose 3.4 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 27 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 8.25 points.
* NBTY Inc agreed to be bought by The Carlyle Group for $55 per share. The stock closed at $37.47 Wednesday.
* U.S.-listed shares of BP Plc were up 1.6 percent to $36.77 premarket, even as the company faced further delays to a test on its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well that could staunch the massive oil spill.
* U.S. producer prices are expected to have retreated again in June, but less severely than in May, when energy costs plunged. Other data due later Thursday include weekly jobless numbers, industrial output and New York Fed manufacturing index.
* Initial jobless claims were forecast at 450,000 for the week, down from 454,000 last week, while producer prices were expected to fall 0.1 percent in June versus 0.3 percent in May.
* The government's financial reform bill is likely to clear a crucial hurdle in Congress on Thursday morning as the Senate votes to approve, paving the way for U.S. President Barack Obama to sign the measure into law.
* China's economy cooled in the second quarter, a slowdown likely to extend over the rest of the year.
* The S&P broke a six-day winning streak Wednesday, ending down less than one-tenth of a percent, while the Dow closed a fraction higher after the Fed's comments added to worries following weak retail sales data. The Nasdaq closed higher following strong quarterly results from Intel Corp.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)