U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday after Alcoa posted better-than-expected quarterly results and gave a positive tone to the start of the second-quarter earnings season.

* Alcoa Inc shares rose more than 5 percent in premarket trading one day after posting a third consecutive quarterly loss, though the deficit was less than estimated. Investors had been skittish ahead of what was seen as a weak earning season, but Alcoa's results provided some relief.

* Crude oil and other commodity prices rose and energy companies and miners led gains in European markets that may be repeated by those stocks in New York. Crude futures rose 1.6 percent.

* Investors will have an eye on weekly jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The weekly data follows last week's weaker-than-expected monthly jobs report.

* Another piece of economic data, May wholesale inventories, is due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT). Also, retailers will report June same-store sales throughout the day.

* S&P 500 futures rose 5.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures climbed 42 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 5.75 points.

* Oil giant Chevron Corp is the only S&P 500 company due to report on Thursday.

* On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 0.18 percent, the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 0.06 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 0.17 percent in a choppy session.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)