Stocks were poised for a higher open on Thursday, indicating the S&P 500 will bounce back from its worst day since mid-August as Italian bond yields eased.
Traders said the European Central Bank increased its bond buying, but the ECB's hard-line chief economist told regional governments not to expect the bank to rescue them with unlimited funds.
A sale on Italian debt went smoothly, but worries persisted that Italy's borrowing costs were unsustainable. The pullback in Italian bond yields helped support market sentiment.
Economic data showed new U.S. jobless claims declined for the second straight week to the lowest level since April, while the trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in September to its narrowest level since December.
Again, (futures) are being driven by developments in Europe, the fact the Italian debt auction went a little better than expected and the Greeks have finally come together on a prime minister, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.
This data that we have on the U.S. is good, but it is hard to deny the overall story is Europe. It's the fact that the yields came down a little bit.
S&P 500 futures rose 15.4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration of the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures climbed 144 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures gained 29 points.
The S&P 500 saw its worst daily percentage drop since August 18 on Wednesday. All 10 S&P sectors closed down, with S&P financials .GSPF the hardest hit.
Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) jumped 7.3 percent to $18.89 in premarket trade after the world's biggest networking equipment maker forecast revenue and earnings above expectations for its fiscal second quarter.
After the closing bell, entertainment and media group Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) are due to post quarterly results.
Disney will seek to reassure Wall Street that global economic woes have not hurt its nearly $11 billion parks and resorts business or held back an advertising rebound at ESPN and its other cable networks.
In Greece, former European Central Bank vice president Lucas Papademos was appointed to head the country's new crisis coalition.
Italy, the region's third-largest economy, has replaced Greece at the center of the European debt crisis storm, with the country's borrowing costs at unsustainable levels and Europe unable to afford a bailout.