Stock futures signaled Wall Street would rise at the open on Thursday as rising oil prices boosted energy shares and sentiment was underpinned by optimism about the Federal Reserve's bid to lower borrowing costs.

Shares of Exxon Mobil climbed 1.1 percent to $69.90 before the bell as U.S. front-month crude jumped more than 6 percent to $51.31 a barrel.

Bank shares also headed higher, with Bank of America up 8 percent to $8.11.

Citigroup said it was proposing an exchange offer of preferred shares that would substantially increase the U.S. government's ownership in the bank. As part of the plan Citigroup would conduct a reverse stock split, reducing its share count and boosting its share price.

Citi shares last traded up about 5 percent at $3.18 in pre-market trading.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve surprised Wall Street by announcing it would buy long-term Treasury bonds for the first time in four decades in a bid to revive the recession-hit economy. Optimism about the move, which fueled a recovery in stocks on Wednesday, continued to bolster sentiment.

The bears are likely to stay on the run, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners. The fact that the Fed made these firm commitments will help blossom some of the seeds that are beginning to sprout toward a recovery.

S&P 500 futures were up 1 point 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 added 7 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 1 point.

An announcement by HSBC Holdings that Europe's biggest bank performed strongly in January, ahead of its expectations, also underpinned some of the optimism about banks.

General Electric is among stocks to watch, with the company scheduled to shed light on the state of its finance arm.

The economic calendar includes a release on weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT. and a March reading on factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region at 10:00 a.m. EDT.

At Wednesday's closing, the benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> had gained more than 17 percent from the 12-year low the index reached earlier this month.

The Fed's move, aimed at resuscitating lending, drove the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note to its biggest one-day drop since the 1987 stock market crash and 30-year mortgage rates fell to around their lowest levels on record.

(Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)