Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday after key government data indicated the recession may be abating while investors eyed a looming bankruptcy for General Motors.

The market looked set to recover some ground lost after Wednesday's sharp drop as rising yields on U.S. government debt fueled concern that businesses and consumers would face higher borrowing costs, hampering an economic recovery.

Government data showed new orders for long-lasting U.S. goods rose more than expected in April, while the number of workers filing new claims for jobless pay dropped by 13,000 last week.

The claims held below recent levels, this is further evidence that the decline in the labor market seems to be leveling off, said Dan Greenhaus, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

Both numbers will matter for the market today, seeing as how we're past earnings season. Macroeconomic data will certainly be focused on right now.

General Motors Corp fell 6.1 percent to $1.08 in premarket trade as the automaker moved closer to filing the largest bankruptcy ever for a U.S. industrial company after a crucial bond exchange proposal failed, while the fate of GM's European brand Opel remained uncertain after marathon talks with German officials ended without a deal.

The impact of GM's bankruptcy, is going to be critical, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont. This is a big unknown that really could have a major impact on the economy that I'm not sure the economy is really discounting properly at this point in time.

S&P 500 futures rose 3.50 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 added 27 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.25 points.

Dow component Procter & Gamble Co
shares rose 0.8 percent to $52.20 in premarket trade after the household products maker gave guidance for 2009 and 2010.

Auto parts maker Visteon and Metaldyne Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for their U.S. operations, becoming the latest casualties of the auto industry crisis.

U.S. front month crude prices held above $63 after OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna decided to leave the group's oil output untouched at 24.85 million barrels a day.

Costco Wholesale Corp slid 2.9 percent to $47.41 in premarket trade after the retailer reported third-quarter profit fell 29 percent, as shoppers stuck to buying basic such as food and medicine and curbed discretionary purchases of clothes and jewelry.

Also on the earnings front, H.J. Heinz fell 1.3 percent to $35.80 in premarket trade after the ketchup maker reported a lower quarterly profit on Thursday as sales to restaurants fell in the recession.

Citigroup Inc shares rose 1.1 percent to $3.74 after the Wall Street Journal said the bank is in early negotiations with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle a probe into whether it misled investors by not properly disclosing the amount of troubled mortgage assets it held as the markets started to fall in 2007, citing people familiar with the matter.

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 173.47 points, or 2.05 percent, to end at 8,300.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 17.27 points, or 1.90 percent, at 893.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 19.35 points, or 1.11 percent, at 1,731.08.

Since reaching a low in early March, the Dow has gained nearly 27 percent and the S&P 500 has risen more than 32 percent.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)