Stock index futures pointed to a firmer open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 flat to 0.2 percent higher at 0916 GMT.

After last Friday's dire nonfarm payroll data, investors will closely watch a televised President Barack Obama speech at 7 p.m. EDT, which will outline a jobs package worth more than $300 billon to boost a spluttering recovery.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will also be giving a speech, at 1:30 p.m. EDT, but he is unlikely to announce any outline bold new measures to boost the flagging recovery.

Investors will eye weekly U.S. jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET for any signs the recovery is improving, with economists in a Reuters survey forecasting a total of 405,000 new filings compared with 409,000 in the prior week.

A U.S. appeals court has ruled a lawsuit accusing lenders such as Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo of fraud over their use of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System cannot proceed.

A lawsuit against Apple by HTC Corp <2498.TW> has been extended to include nine more patents the Taiwanese firm acquired from Google Inc last week.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating pay practices at homebuilders PulteGroup Inc
, Lennar Corp , D.R. Horton and KB Home .

Microsoft Corp at its annual conference in Anaheim next Tuesday will unveil to independent developers an early version of Windows 8 - its next touch-enabled, tablet-friendly operating system.

Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the matter that FedEx Corp is looking to update its aging fleet of cargo airline and considering buying wide-body freighters from Boeing Co and Airbus SAS .

The scope and terms of a profit-sharing deal is now under consideration in contract talks between General Motors Co and the United Auto Workers union for workers at the top American automaker, people with knowledge of the talks said.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> was 0.9 percent higher at 0918 GMT on Thursday on hopes the European Central Bank will halt its interest rate rise cycle as economic growth slows.

Wall Street gained on Wednesday, snapping three days of losses, with financial stocks rebounding sharply.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 2.5 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 2.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 3 percent.

(Reporting by Joanne Frearson; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)