Markets were set to rise on Thursday, bouncing after a sharp fall in the previous session, and boosted by forecast-beating results from Cisco .

Markets were unlikely to regain all the ground lost on Wednesday, with investors still worrying about debt levels and weak growth rates on both sides of the Atlantic.

At 5:21 p.m. EDT, futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq 100 were up 1.2-1.6 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares was up 1.3 percent at 921.24 points.

Italian and Spanish stocks gained, as the European Central Bank was seen buying Italian and Spanish government bonds again, easing jitters over the two countries' ability to deal with their debt problems.

Anheuser-Busch InBev , the world's largest brewer, warned of challenging times in its biggest market, the United States, after beer prices rises there and in Brazil helped it meet second-quarter profit forecasts.

Weekly U.S. initial jobless claims were expected to stay steady at 400,000, the same as the week before, according to a Reuters survey.

Sara Lee , the maker of Hillshire Farm lunch meat and Senseo coffee, will likely give investors an update on its planned separation when it reports quarterly earnings.

Others reporting include Wendy's hamburger chain owner Brinker International and department stores Nordstrom and Kohls .

Fear returned to Wall Street on Wednesday, triggered by worries Europe's debt crisis could engulf French banks and spill onto the U.S. financial sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> lost 4.6 percent; the S&P 500 <.SPX> fell 4.4 percent; the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 4.1 percent.

After the bell, Cisco Systems chief executive John Chambers gave Wall Street a set of quarterly results investors could cheer about for the first time in over a year.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman; Editing by Dan Lalor)