Stock futures rose on Thursday as the latest earnings season got off to a positive start after Alcoa posted a surprise profit and as surging commodity prices underpinned a global equity advance.

Before the bell, shares of Alcoa Inc were up 7 percent at $15.20, a day after the Dow component posted its first profit in a year on cost savings and higher aluminum prices.

It appears to be a robust start to the earnings season. For the moment, investors are optimistic and are looking for the bright spots, said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

With the dollar's weakness continuing to fuel commodity speculation, this will continue to give the market an upward bias.

S&P 500 futures rose 9.40 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 75 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 12.25 points.

The rise in index futures suggested Wall Street would open up nearly 1 percent, following gains in Asian stocks overnight and a rise of about 1 percent in European issues.

In other earnings news, PepsiCo Inc
reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit before the bell on higher volume in snacks and beverages. Its shares were little changed. <

Gold prices rallied to a record for a third successive session on persistent weakness in the U.S. dollar. Spot gold touched a record of $1,058.20 an ounce and lifted silver and palladium.

U.S. front-month crude jumped nearly 1 percent.

On the economic front, the government is due to report weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Investors will also watch monthly same-sales figures from major U.S. retailers.

The European Central Bank is due to decide on interest rates after the Bank of England left interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent for the seventh month running.

In Australia, employment surged past expectations in September, and the jobless rate dropped in what might be a surprisingly early turning point, adding to the case for more interest rates rises this year.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)