Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to higher opening after the Department of Labor reported that weekly jobless claims declined last week.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.37 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.28 percent and Nasdaq100 futures are up 0.31 percent.

At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims declined by 17,000 to 421,000 for the week ended December 4 from the previous week's revised figure of 438,000, while economists expected 430,000. The 4-week moving average of initial claims declined 4,000 to 427,500 from the previous week's revised average of 431,500.

Earlier this morning, U.S. futures advanced after Japan said it still remained the second-largest economy in the world after its growth expanded more than the government initially estimated in the third quarter on higher capital spending.

The Cabinet Office’s final GDP report showed growth of 1.1 percent in the third quarter, up from the mark of 0.9 percent in the second quarter. GDP grew at an annualized pace of 4.5 percent in the third quarter, faster than 3.9 percent reported last month.

After the opening bell, reports on monthly wholesale inventories and natural gas storage will be released.

The Bank of England (BoE) continued to maintain its base rate at 0.5 percent, as the economic recovery continues to remain uncertain and financial crisis continues to worsen in the eurozone.

On Wednesday, US stocks crept higher in a choppy trading session as traders likely had more time to digest the implications of the extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for two years, as well as a renewal of unemployment insurance for long-term jobless for thirteen months.

The euro declined 0.23 percent to 1.3232 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.15 percent against the greenback.

Crude oil futures advanced 0.39 percent to $88.67/barrel and gold futures advanced 0.13 percent.

European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 up by 18.89 points, DAX30 down by 4.98 points and CAC 40 up by 20.97 points.