The U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Thursday ahead of the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims data and the Bureau of Economic Analysis's trade deficit report.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.26 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.35 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.31 percent. 

Investors are likely to focus on the weekly U.S. jobless claims data to be reported Thursday. The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is expected to rise to 370,000 in the week ending Nov. 3, up from 363,000 in the previous week.

Investors are also expected to focus on the trade deficit report to be released Thursday. The trade deficit, which measures the difference in value between the imported and exported goods and services over the reported period, is expected to rise to $45 billion in September from $44.2 billion in August.

On Wednesday, the U.S. stocks plunged as investor confidence was weighed down by the concern that President Barack Obama will face the colossal task of resolving the looming fiscal cliff. Following the projection of Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans retaining the House of Representatives, the U.S. Congress is expected to be divided, which will present a challenge to Obama while pushing for economic reforms.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.36 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 2.37 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 2.48 percent.

European markets rose Thursday as investor sentiment turned positive with the Greek parliament approving the austerity measures to be taken which will ensure that Greece will receive the next tranche of bailout package from the European Central Bank. The Troika, consisting of the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund, had asked Greece to reduce its budget deficit before providing anymore aid package.

London's FTSE 100 was up 25.87 points, Germany's DAX 30 index rose 39.62 points and France's CAC 40 gained 17.90 points.

Asian stocks fell Thursday following global cues. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 532.94 points, Japan’s Nikkei was down 135.74 points and India's BSE Sensex declined 58.96 points.