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US stock futures mildly higher after jobless claims

U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday, with shares in Europe and Asia also boosted by dovish comments from the Federal Reserve.

Stock futures held modest gains after the government reported jobless claims dipped last week by 6,000 to 312,000, better than the 314,000 estimate.

At the end of its two-day policy review, the Fed indicated that interest rates would stay low for some time as the economy continues to recover, helping lift the S&P 500 to a record finish on Wednesday.

The central bank also said it would cut its monthly asset purchases to $35 billion from $45 billion in July, as expected.

"While the Fed sounded upbeat about the economy, it certainly managed to maintain a dovish tone," said Stan Shamu, a market strategist at brokerage IG Markets in a morning note.

"Despite the tick-up in inflation and fall in unemployment, (Fed Chair) Janet Yellen feels the easy monetary conditions will have to be maintained in order to keep the recovery on track."

Other data Thursday includes the Conference Board's leading index for May and the Philadelphia Fed index for June.

In stock news, BlackBerry posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss ahead of Wall Street's open, and Oracle and Tibco Software will report after the market closes.

Other stocks worth watching include Amazon, which unveiled its long-awaited Fire Phone handset on Wednesday. Its first smartphone will cost $199 for the 32 GB version and $299 for the 64 GB.

Read MoreIs Amazon too ambitious with Fire Phone pricing?

General Electric shares will also be of interest, as investors wait to see if it will make an improved bid for Alstom's energy assets.

Meanwhile, events in Iraq remained in the spotlight. The U.S. is increasingly unlikely to use air strikes in the country due to the lack of clear targets, White House officials told reporters. This came as the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration was using Iraqi policymakers to form a new government without Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Read MoreUS shifts focus away from Iraq air strikes

Concerns about Argentina also linger. Its economy ministry has said it will be "impossible" to pay holdout bond investors by the end of the month, raising the likelihood of the country entering a technical default.


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