Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 11, 2010. REUTERS

Futures on major U.S. indices point to a higher opening on Thursday ahead of economic data including key weekly jobless claims and non-farm productivity.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.38 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.34 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.28 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on weekly initial jobless claims and nonfarm productivity which are due to be released before market opens, while ISM non-manufacturing index will be released after market opens.

Ahead of Friday's December nonfarm payrolls report, the Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. The economists forecast initial jobless claims to be 400,000 for the week ended February 26 against 391,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

Payroll firm ADP Employer Services said on Wednesday that employment in the US private sector rose more than expected in February, posting a gain for the fifth consecutive month. On seasonally adjusted basis, private-sector employment rose 217,000 in February, from upwardly revised gain of 189,000 in January, while economists estimated an increase by 175,000.

ISM non-manufacturing index is due to release at 10:00 am EDT, which is expected to show a reading of 59.00 in February compared to 59.40 in January.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks edged higher on some positive jobs data and reassurance from the Federal Reserve that the economy is recovering. However, any equity gains were capped by fears over the continued unrest in Libya and rising crude oil prices.

The euro declined 0.13 percent to 1.3848 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.11 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures declined 0.5 percent to $101.72/barrel and gold futures fell 0.43 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 24.48 points, DAX30 up by 34.51 points and CAC 40 up by 18.94 points.