Stock index futures pointed to a flat opening on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.04 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.01 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.01 percent at 0917 GMT (4:17 a.m. ET).

Energy shares will be in the spotlight as oil prices climbed to near a two-year high on Thursday, boosted by an unexpected surge in global demand that has fueled the biggest drop in U.S. crude oil stockpiles in more than a decade.

Bed Bath & Beyond beat quarterly profit estimates and gave a strong outlook for the period covering the holidays as U.S. consumers spent more on their homes, sending its shares up.

Rovi Corp will pay $720 million in cash and stock to buy Sonic Solutions , which owns the popular digital video player software DivX, in a bid to broaden its footprint across the digital entertainment space.

Defense contractor Raytheon Co recommended on Wednesday that shareholders reject an unsolicited mini-tender offer by TRC Capital Corp to buy up to 2 million common shares, or about 0.5 percent of its outstanding stock.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said its military should launch a merciless counter-attack if its territory is attacked again by North Korea, as Seoul's military held major land and sea exercises on Thursday. North Korea responded to the show of military might by denouncing its neighbor as a warmonger, but stopped short of threatening a retaliatory strike as tensions simmered following the North's shelling of a southern island last month.

European shares inched higher in morning trade, extending their sharp December rally as buoyant oil prices boosted energy shares such as BP and ENI . At 0833 GMT (3:33 a.m. ET)the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.05 percent at 1,148.11 points, on track to record its best monthly performance since mid-2009.

The S&P 500 rose on Wednesday to its highest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, led by bank stocks that have leapfrogged other sectors in December.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 26.33 points, or 0.23 percent, to 11,559.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 4.24 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,258.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> edged up 3.87 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,671.48.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Greg Mahlich)