Futures on major U.S. indices point to higher opening on Thursday ahead of key weekly jobless claims report from the government.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.21 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.19 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.23 percent.

Ahead of Friday's December nonfarm payrolls report, the Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. The economists forecast initial jobless claims to be 405,000 for the week ended January 1 against 388,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

Payroll firm ADP Employer Services said on Wednesday that the private sector payrolls surged by 297,000 in December (far ahead of expectations). Also, outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported that job cuts dropped by 59 percent to 530,000 in 2010 -- the lowest level in 13 years.

On the earnings front, Constellation Brands and Monsanto Co are due to release their quarterly earnings before markets open. Constellation Brands is expected to report third quarter net income of $0.62 per share compared to $0.54 per share in the same quarter last year.

On Wednesday, US stocks climbed, supported by a stunning jobs report from the private sector, raising hopes for a strong nonfarm payroll data on Friday.

The euro declined 0.30 percent to 1.3110 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.11 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.02 percent to $90.28/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.14 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 35.84 points, DAX30 up by 64.44 points and CAC 40 up by 29.70 points.