Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 rise 0.9 to 1 percent, pointing to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday.

At 8.30 a.m EDT, Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the week ended October 3. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 540,000 new filings compared with 551,000 in the prior week.

Commerce Department releases wholesale inventories for August at 1400 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast inventories to fall by 1.0 percent versus a drop of 1.4 percent in July.

ICSC releases chain store sales for September versus a year ago. In August, sales fell 2.0 percent versus a year earlier.

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

PepsiCo, maker of Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana juice, Quaker Oats and Frito-Lay snacks, reports third-quarter results.

Marriott International is scheduled to announce financial results.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel considers if Pfizer
should be allowed to promote its AIDS drug Selzentry more widely. The company is seeking permission to sell the drug for HIV patients who have not yet tried any medications for the disease. The FDA usually follows panel recommendations.

Commodity stocks will be in focus after spot gold topped $1,050 per ounce to mark a record high for the third session in a row on Thursday. Key base metals and crude oil prices are also stronger.

Alcoa Inc posted a surprise profit on Wednesday through cost cutting and higher aluminum prices after three consecutive quarterly losses, sending its stock higher.

Alcoa, which has curtailed metal production by more than 20 percent and cut its workforce by about 30 percent since the economic downturn began a year ago, said there are signs that key markets are stabilizing and it expects global consumption to rise by 11 percent in the second half of this year.

Savient Pharmaceuticals fell 6 percent in after-hours trade on Wednesday following the company's announcement of an offering of four million shares of stock.

U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc is in the running to help state regulators estimate risks in insurers' investments, the Wall Street Journal said, citing regulators and a National Association of Insurance Commissioners official.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top shares is up 0.9 percent at 997.98 points following a 0.4 percent fall in the previous session. The index is up around 20 percent this year and has surged almost 55 percent since hitting a record low in early March.

The Standard & Poor's 500 <.SPX> and Nasdaq <.IXIC> indexes edged up on Wednesday with investors responding positively to early earnings results as the quarterly reporting period got under way.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 5.67 points, or 0.06 percent, at 9,725.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.86 points, or 0.27 percent, at 1,057.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 6.76 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,110.33.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash)