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Futures Hold Gains After Economic Reports

U.S. stock index futures held their gains Thursday, after two-straight days of declines, following some better-than-expected economic reports.

On the economic front, weekly jobless claims fell by 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, according to the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a reading of 365,000.

And durable orders jumped 9.9 percent in September, according to the Commerce Department. Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders to rise 7.1 percent.

Another handful of companies reported earnings ahead of the open.

Procter & Gamble gained after the consumer goods company posted results that were largely in line with expectations, but net income was hurt by a stronger dollar.

ConocoPhillips also rose even after the energy company posted a decline in profit, hurt by a price drop in crude oil and natural gas.

And Sprint Nextel posted a wider-than-expected loss as the telecom company spent heavily on a network upgrade.

Zynga jumped after the social games services provider broke even on bookings of $256 million, both matching expectations. In addition, the firm announced a share repurchase program of $200 million.

Best Buy slumped after the consumer-electronics retailer announced two of its executives will be leaving the company and added that it expects third-quarter earnings "significantly below" year-ago levels.

Apple, Amazon.com, Expedia and Coinstar are expected to report earnings after the closing bell.

In Europe, Santander and Credit Suisse posted third quarter results that missed expectations, although investors welcomed the Swiss bank's cost cutting plans.

European shares were lifted by better-than-expected GDP figures from the U.K. The numbers showed an increase of 1 percent on the previous quarter, the biggest quarterly gain in five years.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors will issue pending home sales for September, measuring contracts signed but not closed. Analysts surveyed by Reuters expect a 2.1 percent increase compared with a 2.6 percent drop in the previous month.

The government is scheduled to auction $29 billion in 7-year notes with the results available shortly after 1pm ET.

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)

Coming Up This Week:

THURSDAY: Pending home sales, Kansas City Fed survey; Earnings from Apple, Amazon.com, Coinstar, Expedia
FRIDAY: GDP, consumer sentiment, Windows 8 released; Earnings from Comcast, Merck

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