U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, following the previous session's sell-off, while investors braced for monthly sales data from retailers.

At 5:08 a.m. EDT, futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.5 percent, Dow Jones futures were up 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.4 percent.

Investors will also keep an eye on weekly jobless claims, ahead of key monthly jobs data due on Friday.

The energy sector will be in the spotlight after Goldman Sachs raised its end of 2009 oil price forecast to $85 a barrel from $65 and introduced a new end of 2010 forecast of $95, the U.S. bank said in a research note.

UAL Corp's United Airlines has asked Boeing Co and Airbus to propose competing bids to supply up to 150 new airliners, the Wall Street Journal said on its website on Thursday.

American International Group Inc is in talks to line up financing to facilitate the sale of its aircraft leasing unit, but it will consider options such as selling some aircraft if it fails to do so, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

European stocks were up 0.4 percent in morning trade, led by rebounding energy shares such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell , but the gains were limited as investors remained cautious ahead of interest rate decisions by both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

U.S. stocks dropped on Wednesday, snapping a four-day winning run, as tumbling oil prices dragged on energy shares, while less upbeat economic reports rekindled concerns over recovery prospects.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 65.63 points, or 0.75 percent, to 8,675.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> shed 12.98 points, or 1.37 percent, to 931.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> declined 10.88 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,825.92.

Since reaching a bottom in early March, the Dow has gained 34.1 percent and the S&P has risen 39.7 percent.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)