Wall Street stocks were set for a higher open on Thursday after weekly jobless claims data suggested the labor market was on track for recovery.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell to a level below economists' forecast. But the four-week moving average for claims rose to a six-month high.
There are a lot of numbers that will be released today -- leading indicators, Philadelphia Fed, existing-home sales. Each of which will be very important to add to the puzzle, said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.
Let's put this as a real good start to the day.
The National Association of Realtors will report on existing-home sales for April and the Conference Board will release its index of leading economic indicators, both at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT).
LinkedIn shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange
Technology shares were in focus after Goldman Sachs lowered its coverage view on the U.S. semiconductor equipment sector to cautious from neutral, citing looming excess supply on account of recent strong capital expenditure levels.
S&P 500 futures rose 3.3 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 gained 37 points while Nasdaq 100 futures added 5 points.
Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday after a rebound in commodity prices and Dell's strong earnings, but stocks still face headwinds.
I'm still of the belief that a downward trend with lower highs has begun, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.
From the perspective of the always fickle individual investor, the sharp commodity pullback, which modestly shook the tree in stocks over the past few weeks, has gotten them more cautious.
Oil prices firmed on Thursday, holding on to gains after rebounding the previous day on data showing a drop in crude stockpiles in the United States.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)