U.S. stock index futures were higher Thursday, lifted by a batch of better-than-expected earnings and after an upbeat jobless claims report.
On the economic front, jobless claims declined 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, according to the Labor Department. Analysts had expected 351,000 new claims last week, according to a Reuters poll.
Among earnings, oil giant ExxonMobil gained after the Dow component reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped market expectations, helping the company to distribute $7.6 billion worth of dividends and buybacks to shareholders.
United Parcel Service edged higher after the package delivery company reported earnings that topped forecasts, thanks to improvement in ground and export shipments.
(Read More: Earnings Season Mixed as European Hurdles Remain)