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US stock futures surge amid earnings, claims data

U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a sharply higher open on Wall Street on Thursday after Dow component Caterpillar reported earnings that were much better than expected.

Already rallying, futures furthered maintained their climb after data had 283,000 Americans filing for jobless benefits, just above expectations of 282,000.

The 10-year Treasury note yield, used in determining rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, jumped 3 basis points to 2.245 percent.

The U.S. dollar edged lower against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and dollar-denominated commodities were mixed.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures fell $10.50, or 0.9 percent, to $1,235.20 an ounce, and crude-oil futures for December rose 22 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $80.75 a barrel.

Boom! Caterpillar blows doors off estimates

U.S. stocks had been expected to reverse losses seen on Wednesday following the fatal shooting of a soldier in Ottawa and oil falling to a more-than two-year low on the back of better global industrial data.

European and Asian markets were buoyed by positive purchasing manager's index (PMI) data – a good indicator of growth and business optimism -- on Thursday. In theeuro zone, composite PMI data (which includes manufacturing and services)was stronger than expected at 52.2 in October, up from 52.0 in September. In China, HSBC flash manufacturing PMI data rose to a three-month high of 50.4 in October, above the bank's final reading of 50.2 last month.

Along with Caterpillar, MMM, General Motors, Raytheon, Untied Continental, Alaska Air, Southwest Air, JetBlue, American AirlinesGroup, Union Pacific, Comcast (CNBC's parent company), Eli Lilly, Royal Caribbean, Under Armour, Celgene, Dunkin' Brands, Pulte Group, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Imax and Brunswick report before the bell.

Credit Suisse reported third-quarter net profit above analyst forecasts as investment banking revenue rose.

Microsoft and Amazon.com report after the close, as does Altera, Juniper Networks, Southwestern Energy, Flowserve, Biomarin Pharma, Altera, Cerner, DeVry and Decker's Outdoor.