U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.62 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.47 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.52 percent at 0900 GMT (4 a.m. EST).

Bank of America Corp will be in the spotlight after saying it would repay $45 billion of taxpayer bailout funds, a move that could free the top U.S. lender from pay curbs as it looks to hire a new CEO but also makes it more vulnerable to further economic shocks.

Shares of Bank of America traded in Frankfurt were up 3 percent.

The auto sector will be in focus after news that France's PSA Peugeot Citroen
could buy a large stake in Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp <7211.T> as part of plan to deepen ties to ride out the auto industry's worst-ever slump, sending Japanese and European auto stocks surging.

Japan's Nikkei average climbed nearly 4 percent on Thursday to hit its highest close in five weeks as exporters such as Canon Inc <7751.T> jumped on a weaker yen, while European stocks were up 0.8 percent in morning trade, led by banks and auto stocks.

Gold hit a record high of $1,226.10 on persistent dollar weakness, receding fears over debt problems in Dubai and ongoing expectations that central banks will continue to buy the precious metal, while U.S. crude futures climbed after slipping 2.3 percent a day earlier on a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc is meeting with major investors in an effort to head off a possible investor backlash over its record bonuses, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Comcast Corp and General Electric Co are preparing to announce a deal on Thursday that would give Comcast control of NBC Universal, turning the U.S. cable giant into one of the largest and most prolific suppliers of TV shows and movies.

On the macro front, investors were bracing for data on productivity, weekly jobless claims and ISM non-manufacturing index, while the bulk of major retail chains report November same-store sales. Early data on Thanksgiving weekend shopping from Thursday through Sunday showed only a slight increase in sales, pressuring retailer shares.

Workers at U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson's York, Pennsylvania plant have agreed to a near 50 percent cut in jobs and more flexible working practices in exchange for the company's commitment to invest $90 million in the plant, the Wall Street Journal said.

A group led by former Ford Motor Co executives has submitted a revised bid this week for Ford's Volvo unit and hopes to beat the offer by Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the situation.

The Nasdaq rose on Wednesday as strong online holiday sales boosted shares of retailers, including Amazon.com , and relieved some concerns about the consumer. The Dow edged lower as falling oil prices prompted investors to sell energy shares, while the Standard & Poor's index finished flat.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> declined 18.90 points, or 0.18 percent, to end at 10,452.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> inched up just 0.38 of a point, or 0.03 percent, to finish at 1,109.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 9.22 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 2,185.03.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hans Peters)