Traders stand outside the western entrance of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. Reuters

U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Thursday ahead of the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ gross domestic product (GDP) report and the Labor Dept.'s weekly jobless claims data.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.32 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.21 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.41 percent.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will report Thursday the second estimate of the third quarter GDP, which measures the annualized change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy. The U.S. economy is expected to have expanded 2.8 percent in the third quarter, up from a 1.3 percent rise in the second quarter. The first estimate of the third quarter GDP reported last month showed that the economy expanded 2.0 percent.

Investors are also waiting for the weekly U.S. jobless claims data to be reported Thursday. The initial jobless claims report, which measures the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, is expected to decline to 390,000 in the week ending Nov. 24, down from 410,000 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors' Pending Home Sales report, which measures the change in the number of homes under contract to be sold but still awaiting the closing transaction, excluding new construction, will be reported at 10:00 a.m. EST Thursday. It is expected that the report would show a 0.8 percent rise in October after gaining 0.3 percent in the previous month.

On the earnings front, Barnes & Noble, Tiffany & Co., Kroger Co. and OmniVision Technologies Inc. will report their quarterly earnings. Barnes & Noble is expected to report a second quarter net loss of $0.11 per share on revenues of $1.88 billion before the opening bell Thursday.

U.S. stocks recovered from earlier losses and ended with gains Wednesday as investor sentiment turned positive following the encouraging comments from President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, who both indicated that a deal was moving closer to fruition.

European stock markets were trading higher with the FTSE 100 up by 3.57 points, the DAX30 up by 11.08 points and the CAC 40 up by 18.38 points.

Asian stock markets advanced Thursday as market sentiment improved after the U.S. House Speaker expressed optimism the “fiscal cliff” talks would reach an agreement. The Japanese Nikkei gained 0.99 percent, India’s BSE Sensex surged 1.33 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI Composite surged 1.15 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.99 percent.