Stock futures rise on ECB moves, US economic data

U.S. stock-index futures rose on Thursday after the European Central Bank cut its key rate and ECB President Mario Draghi announced plans to purchase asset-backed securities.

The ECB lowered its benchmark interest rate to 0.05 percent, and cut its deposit facility to minus 0.2 percent.

"I see today's rate moves as more symbolic than substantive," emailed Peter Boockvar, chief market strategist at the Lindsey Group.

Stock futures held gains after the August ADP employment report found the private sector added 204,000 jobs last month. Separately, the government reported 302,000 jobless claims were filed last week.

Reuters had cited people familiar with ECB discussions as saying that barring strong opposition at the central bank's policy meeting, Draghi is likely to announce the moves at his news conference Thursday.

The Bank of England held its key interest rate at a record low on Thursday, with the decision coming amid a softening economy across the euro zone.

The dollar gained against other global currencies including the euro; the yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped a basis point to 2.391 percent.

Gold futures added 50 cents to $1,270.80 an ounce; crude futures fell 78 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $94.76 a barrel.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace deal had yet been struck to end the bloodshed in southeast Ukraine. Negotiators representing Kiev, Moscow and pro-separatist rebels are due for more talks on Friday.

As expected, the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy on hold at the conclusion of a two-day review on Thursday.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato