Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a modestly higher opening on Thursday ahead of economic data including durable goods orders and pending home sales as well as slew of earnings reports.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.07 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.18 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.13 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on durable goods orders and pending home sales reports to gauge the strength of recovery in the world’s largest economy.

The Commerce Department is due to release December durable goods orders report at 8:30 am EDT. Economists expect new orders for manufactured durable goods in December to gain by 1.30 percent compared to a 0.3 percent decline in November. Core durable goods orders, excluding transportation, are expected to increase 0.6 percent in December.

Meanwhile, weekly jobs report is expected to show that the initial jobless claims edge higher to 408,000 for the week ended January 22 against 404,000 of the previous week. Any data weaker than this will weigh on market sentiments.

The National Association of Realtors' pending home sales index, a forward-looking indicator that looks at contracts signed for existing homes, is due to be released after the markets open and is expected to show that sales rise in December following gain in the existing home sales and new home sales.

On the earnings front, Caterpillar, Invesco, Motorola, Danaher, Eaton, First Republic Bank, Franklin Resources and Raytheon are due to be released their earnings before markets open, while companies including Microsoft, SanDisk, QLogic, Monster Worldwide and Microchip Technology will release their earnings after the closing bell.

On Wednesday, US stocks ended modestly higher led by gains in tech and commodity shares, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average came off its high of 12,020 points and finished with a gain of 0.07 percent to close at 11,985.44, its highest mark in 29 months.

The euro advanced 0.08 percent to 1.3724 against the dollar and the yen declined 0.72 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.84 percent to $86.60/barrel and gold futures gained 0.25 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading in higher with FTSE 100 up by 20.30 points, DAX30 up by 37.26 points and CAC 40 up by 6.86 points.