Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 1, 2011. REUTERS

Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to higher opening on Thursday ahead of a wave of economic data including monthly Consumer Price Index and key weekly jobless claims.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.73 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.48 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.57 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on monthly Consumer Price Index, weekly initial jobless claims and industrial production data which are due to be released before the markets open, while reports on leading index and Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index will be released after the markets open.

Economists are estimating CPI to show 0.4 percent growth against the same percent rise in the previous month. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise by 0.1 percent compared to 0.2 percent rise in the previous month.

The Department of Labor is due to report the initial jobless claims data at 8:30 am EDT. Economists have forecast initial jobless claims will be 387,000 for the week ended March 12 against 377,000 of the previous week. Any data that is weaker than expected will weigh on market sentiments.

On the corporate front, FedEx is expected to report third quarter net income of $0.82 per share compared to $0.76 per share in the same quarter last year.

U.S. stocks declined to 2011 lows on Wednesday as worsening crisis at Japan nuclear reactor and weaker-than-expected housing data weighed on the sentiment.

The euro advanced 0.86 percent to 1.4019 against the dollar and the yen gained 1.39 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures rose 1.57 percent to $99.52/barrel and gold futures rose 0.36 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading higher with FTSE 100 up by 30.63 points, DAX30 up by 32.58 points and CAC 40 up by 28.07 points.