U.S. stock futures point to a higher opening on Thursday, ahead of economic data, including key weekly U.S. jobs data from the government.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index gained 0.38 per cent at 6:10 a.m. ET, while futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq 100 rose 0.33 per cent and 0.27 per cent respectively.

Investors are likely to focus on weekly initial jobless claims which are due to be released before the markets open, while reports on existing home sales, CB leading index, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index and Natural Gas Storage 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 these claims will be 400,000 for the week ended Oct. 15, against 404,000 of the previous week. Any data that's weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is due to report the sales of previously occupied homes after the market opens. Economists are forecasting that existing home sales in September may decline to 4.9 million from 5.03 million in August.

On the earnings front, AT&T, Eli Lilly & Co., Key Corp., BB&T Corp. and McGraw-Hill will report their quarterly earnings before the opening bell, while Microsoft Corp., Altera Corp., Sandisk Corp., Capital One Financial and Chubb Corp. will report their quarterly earnings after the closing bell.

On the corporate front, shares of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) will be in focus as the company issued a weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings guidance on Wednesday. The company shares declined more than four per cent in post-market trading sessions.

U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday, as a consequence of fading optimism about European leaders making considerable advancements to resolve the Eurozone debt crisis at their summit meeting this weekend.

The Financial Times reported that the Eurozone bank recapitalization amount may be less than 100 billion euros (US$137.9 billion), which is short of the IMF’s 200 billion euro estimate.

European stock markets are trading lower, with the FTSE100 down by 33.16 points, the DAX30 down by 29.55 points and the CAC 40 down by 29.56 points.