U.S. stock index futures climbed Thursday, boosted by a better-than-expected jobless claims report.
First-time claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected, down 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000, according to the Labor Department, the biggest weekly drop in almost a year. Economists polled by Reuters expected claims falling to 380,000. The four-week moving average edged up 750 to 383,500.
The report comes ahead of the key government jobs data for April, due Friday. The latest estimates from economists surveyed by Reuters call for a gain of 170,000 new positions, a gain from March's tepid gain of 120,000.
Also on the economic front, nonfarm productivity fell in the first quarter at a 0.5 percent annual rate, according to the Labor Department, in line with expectations. Meanwhile, labor costs grew 2 percent in the first quarter after increasing at a 2.7 percent pace in the previous quarter.
The Institute for Supply Management releases its April non-manufacturing index at 10:00 a.m. Economists forecast a reading of 55.5, versus 56.0 in March. Any reading above 50 signals expansion.
The ECB held its interest rate at 1 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi said the economic outlook was "subject to downside risks" and that the latest data "highlight prevailing uncertainty. He added that inflation will remain in line with price stability objectives, but is likely to stay above 2 percent this year. European shares held modest gainsfollowing the announcement.