US stock index futures climbed further Wednesday after a batch of data signaling that the US economy was building on strength but also that the recovery would be gradual.
Jobless claims fell to 466,000 last week compared with estimates of 500,000, the lowest level since September 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed sending shockwaves through the markets.
Gold hit a new record high above $1,180 an ounce after a newspaper report that India is open to buying more gold from the International Monetary Fund.
European stocks were trading higher, boosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve's revision of the growth outlook for next year, while Asian markets staged a late rally.
October durable goods orders fell unexpectedly, but personal spending rose more than expected as income increased, data showed.
Consumer sentiment will be released at 9:55 am New York time, and new home sales are due to come out at 10 am.
On the earnings front, Deere and Tiffany reported results before the opening bell.
Deere reported a quarterly net loss because of weak equipment sales and some one-off charges, while Tiffany's profit beat expectations and it raised its forecast for the full-year earnings.
In corporate news, American International Group's board authorized Chief Executive Robert Benmosche's $7 million compensation, while the head of the FDIC cautioned about risks in a proposal that would break up the biggest financial institutions in the U.S.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has sent confidentiality agreements to about 20 interested parties including Time Warner and News Corp , Reuters reported.
In the banking sector, half of the losses suffered by banks could still be hidden in their balance sheets, more so in Europe than in the U.S., IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned.
And in the bond market, the last of three major Treasury auctions this week takes place at 1 pm New York time when total $32 billion of 7-year notes will be auctioned.