Stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.8 percent, while Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 futures were both up 0.7 percent at 0955 GMT.

European shares extended gains to over 1 percent in early trade <.FETU3>, with banks surging on expectations Greece will secure a crucial bond swap, avoiding a disorderly default.

Greece has seen a strong take up of its bond swap offer to private investors, a government official said ahead of a 2000 GMT deadline for accepting the deal, a key element in a 130 billion euro international rescue package.

The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold and signal it has played its part in fighting the euro zone crisis after unleashing a dramatic sweep of measures that has unsettled some at the bank.

The Bank of England looks set to stick to its ultra-loose monetary policy to support a weak economy, with the focus shifting to whether the central bank will implement another round of gilt buying in May.

In the United States, jobs data for the week to March 3 is due at 1330 GMT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 351,000 new filings, a repeat of the previous week's number.

The Federal Reserve releases weekly money stock, liquid assets and debt measures and the weekly report on factors affecting reserves of depository institutions and the condition statement of the Federal Reserve banks.

Programmable chipmaker Altera Corp releases its first-quarter earnings after forecasting weak revenue on soft demand in its biggest markets, underscoring concerns about a shaky rebound in the semiconductor industry.

Apple Inc launched its latest iPad, which sports a crisper display and an array of technology advances that, while less than revolutionary, may prove enough for now to keep rivals like Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> at bay.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA , the world's largest brewer, forecast heavier drinking this year in the United States and Brazil, its two main markets, after quarterly earnings were boosted by price hikes and cost cutting.

General Motors Co chief executive Dan Akerson said it may be two years before its European division is back in profit as the continent sheds over-capacity the same way the U.S. industry had to over the past half decade.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 0.6 percent, to 12,837.33 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 0.7 percent, to 1,352.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 0.43 percent, to close at 2,935.69.

(Reporting By Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Mark Potter)