Stock index futures rose on Thursday as investors awaited weekly data that will provide a measure of the health of the jobs market.

Weekly initial jobless claims are expected to show requests for jobless benefits edged up to 460,000 last week from 457,000, according to Reuters data. After last week's better-than-expected jobs report for November, investors are looking for a confirmation that job losses are stabilizing.

The data is due at 8:30 a.m., as is a report on international trade for October.

Citigroup Inc plans to pay back the Treasury its rescue funds by raising money in a stock offering, cable television network CNBC reported. The offering could be announced as early as Thursday and could be some $20 billion, according to the report. Analysts said the repayment would be another sign that banks were returning to health.

Hershey Co and the trust that controls it are close to deciding whether to bid for rival candy maker Cadbury Plc , The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday evening, citing sources close to the matter.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc expects gross margins to climb to above 45 percent in 2011 as it launches new products and modifies a manufacturing agreement, boosting its goal of becoming profitable again.

S&P 500 futures rose 5.40 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 24 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures added 6.50 points.

Stocks ended higher on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar fell and investors' appetite for risk returned, lifting shares of financial, technology and natural resource companies.

Costco Wholesale Corp , the No. 1 U.S. warehouse club operator, reported a slight increase in first-quarter profit as revenue rose.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr)