U.S. stock-index futures gained on Thursday, with the S&P 500 on track to open in record territory, after the European Central Bank cuts its deposit rate below zero and said additional steps would include targeted long-term loans.
"This is a historic move by a major central bank," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
The ECB cut its key lending rate to 0.15 percent from 0.25 percent and the overnight deposit rate to 0.1 percent from zero, with policy makers attempting to fend off deflation in the region.
"It was well telegraphed that these were likely moves by the ECB," said Luschini. The added measures that have the ECB offering banks cheap, long-term funding so long as they use it to hike lending to companies were intended to provide "liquidity into the corporate marketplace, where banks have been reluctant lenders," said Luschini.
The euro lost ground against the U.S. dollar at 1.35 dollars per euro, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield turned higher, up 3 basis points to 2.641 percent.
Gold futures for August delivery erased gains, lately hold steady at $1,244.30 an ounce.
Stock futures held gains after the U.S. government reported jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 312,000 last week.