Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a higher opening Thursday ahead of a wave of economic data including ISM manufacturing index and key weekly jobless claims.
Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.07 percent to 1,365.30, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.20 percent to 12,963.00 and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.25 percent to 2,629.50.
Investors are likely to focus on weekly initial jobless claims, as well as personal income and personal spending data which are due to be released before the market opens. ISM manufacturing index and construction spending data will be released after the markets open.
The Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. Economists have forecast initial jobless claims will be 353,000 for the week ended Feb. 25 against 351,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.
The Commerce Department will release January personal income and consumption data at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists expect a rise of 0.5 percent in January income and a 0.4 percent increase in spending. The core PCE deflator is expected to increase by 0.2 percent, matching the rise in the core CPI, leaving the year-on-year rate slightly higher at 1.8 percent.
ISM manufacturing index is due to release at 10:00 am EDT, which likely rose to 54.5 from 54.1 in January.
On the corporate front, automakers' shares will be in focus as companies including General Motors, Ford Motor, Honda Motor, Toyota Motor Corp and Hyundai will release U.S. sales figures for February Thursday Morning.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks took U-turn to end with modest losses as the testimony from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke disappointed investors who had hoped for a strong signal that more stimulus was on the way.
Crude oil futures rose 0.18 percent to $107.26/barrel and gold futures gained 0.46 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 34.06 points, DAX30 up by 43.19 points and CAC 40 up by 14.34 points.