Futures added to sharp gains Wednesday following news global central banks announced coordinated actions to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity to financial systems.
The world's major central banks including the ECB, Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the central banks of Canada, Japan and Switzerland agreed to coordinated action to ease the increasing strains on the global financial system.
The move is designed to "enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system."
Futures were higher after China surprised with its first cut in banks' reserve requirements in hopes of boosting an economy running at its weakest pace since 2009.
After the market close Tuesday, Standard & Poor's reduced its credit ratings on 15 large financials, mostly in the Europe and U.S. as the result of a sweeping overhaul of its ratings criteria.
JPMorgan Chase , Bank of America , Citigroup , Wells Fargo , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley , were among the banks that had their ratings reduced by one notch each. A notch is one third of a letter rating.
In Europe, EU finance ministers agreed to ramp up the firepower of their rescue fund but left a number of questions unanswered, including the exact size of the increased fund.
On the economic front, the pace of job growth in the private sector accelerated in November, with U.S. employers adding 206,000 jobs, according to the ADP National Employment Report, surpassing expectations for a gain of 130,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll.
Also on the jobs front, the number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms edged down 0.7 percent to 42,474 in November, according to a report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The jobs data come ahead of a key government employment report on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased 122,000 in November, according to a Reuters survey, after posting a gain of 80,000 in October.
Third quarter productivity and labor unit costs are out at 8.30 am and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index is released at 9.45 am.
September pending home sales are out at 10 and weekly crude inventories are released at 10.30 am.
Weekly mortgage applications declined for a third week in a row, due to a drop in refinancing demand, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
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On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY:Productivity & costs, Chicago PMI, pending home sales index, oil inventories, Beige Book, farm prices, AT&T/TMobile hearing, USDA's agricultural trade outlook; Earnings from Aeropostale
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, ISM mfg index, construction spending, chain store sales, auto sales; Earnings from Barnes & Noble, Kroger, Lululemon, H&R Block
FRIDAY: Employment situation, Fed's Plosser speaks; Earnings from Big Lots