U.S. stock index futures pointed to a rise of about 2 percent at the open on Thursday after China denied a report it was reviewing its holdings of euro-zone sovereign bonds due to the region's debt crisis.

The People's Bank of China said a Financial Times report that Beijing was concerned about its exposure to the euro zone debt crisis was groundless. The report cut short a rally in equities and pushed indexes into the red as investors remained nervous after recent heavy losses.

Also helping to sooth markets, Portugal said it was fully engaged in fiscal consolidation, and Spain's parliament passed a 15 billion euro ($18.4 billion) austerity package to cut its budget deficit.

We have gone through a period of a very, very hard sell-off, and I think traders are looking for some evidence of a stopping point for those sales. This morning seems to be at least the first effort at a significant comeback, said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

S&P 500 futures jumped 24.5 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 soared 196 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures put on 41.75 points.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said he did not expect contagion from Europe's fiscal problems to reach the United States, adding that the world's biggest economy may actually benefit from a flight to safety.

Japan's Nikkei average came off a six-month low to close up 1.2 percent on Thursday, while European stocks gained 2.3 percent in morning trade.

U.S. crude oil futures rose 2.6 percent to top $73 a barrel, supported by gains in equities markets and after U.S. government data Wednesday showed an increase in fuel demand.

In earnings news, H.J. Heinz Co posted higher quarterly profit, but also said earnings for the year would be hit by currency fluctuations.

Warehouse club operator Costco Wholesale Corp and close-out retailer Big Lots Inc both recorded a higher quarterly profit.

Yahoo Inc said it could return to double-digit revenue growth in the next few years as the Internet pioneer revamps its network of websites.

On the economic side, the second reading of first-quarter U.S. gross domestic product growth and weekly jobless claims will both be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT)

Economists forecast a 3.4 percent annualized rate of growth, and look for new jobless claims to have fallen to 455,000 last week from 471,000 the week before.

Wall Street staged another late-day reversal Wednesday to end lower after the Financial Times report on China.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)