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US stock-index futures higher after GDP, jobless claims

U.S. stock-index futures continued their advance on Thursday, signaling an opening bounce back from the prior day's decline, after the Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy expanded 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and investors embraced quarterly profits from social-networking company Facebook.

Beyond the GDP data, the Labor Department reported weekly jobless claims rose 19,000 to 348,000 last week versus an 328,000 estimate.

Facebook gained after reporting a 63 percent jump in revenue in the fourth quarter, beating expectations; Google rose after Lenovo Group agreed to acquire its Motorola mobile-phone business for $2.91 billion. Exxon Mobil shares fell in early New York trading after the oil company reported a 16 percent decline in quarterly profit.

Later in the day, Amazon and Google will post results after Wall Street closes.

Asian and European shares traded lower on Thursday, as markets digested the Federal Reserve's decision to taper its bond-purchasing program by another $10 billion. The central bank will now purchase $65 billion per month in bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

(Read more: Fed eases up on QE by another $10 billion)

Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at broker ETX Capital, said the Fed's announcement could boost markets over the longer-term.

"The move by the Fed is welcome in a broader context; the central bank has now set a precedent of how much it will cut by, offering the market a level of clarity and shows commitment that even in the face of some mixed data in January, the Fed has made its mind up and there's no U-turning now," Siddiqi said in a morning note.

Asian markets were also affected by fresh data indicating China's economic growth is slowing. HSBC's final PMI (purchasing managers' index) reading for January fell to a six-month low of 49.5, worse than a preliminary estimate of 49.6.

Investors will also keep an eye on further weakness in other emerging markets. Rate hikes from the central banks of India, Turkey and South Africa have so far failed to curb a broad-based plunge in emerging market currencies and risk assets.

(Read more: After Fed, focus shifts to emerging markets)

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato

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