U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open for markets on Thursday, ahead of the publication of jobless claims data and another round of corporate earnings statements. China's trade data, which was released earlier on Thursday, came in significantly higher than expected and could influence markets as well.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.25 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.24 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.21 percent.

The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is scheduled to be released by the Department of Labor at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists polled by Bloomberg predict that claims are likely to increase to 336,000 for the week ended Aug. 3, up from 326,000 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, economists expect continuing jobless claims data, which measure the number of unemployed individuals who qualify for unemployment insurance, to decrease marginally to 2.95 million from the 2.951 million recorded in the previous week.

In quarterly earnings, The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), The Progressive Corp. (NYSE:PGR), Scientific Games Corp. (NASDAQ:SGMS), Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE:HL), Dean Foods Co. (NYSE:DF), Windstream Corp. (NASDAQ:WIN) and Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) will announce their quarterly earnings reports on Thursday.

European markets traded higher on Thursday, as upbeat Chinese trade data boosted investors’ confidence in the health of the world’s second-largest economy. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.25 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX-30 was up 0.33 percent and France's CAC-40 was trading up 0.34 percent.  

In Asia, most markets rebounded, after significantly better-than-expected trade data from China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.31 percent while the Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.09 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rallied up to 1.07 percent while Japan’s Nikkei ended down 1.59 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index added 0.30 percent after Bank of Korea left its key interest rates unchanged, as expected. India’s BSE Sensex was trading up 0.6 percent in late-afternoon trade.