Stock futures turn higher amid US data, Draghi

U.S. stock futures erased losses and rose on Thursday, as investors reacted to upbeat economic reports in the U.S. and heard from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi after the ECB held its key interest rate at record lows, as expected.

Wall Street embraced economic reports that had the government's tally of Americans filing for jobless benefits falling by 10,000 to 278,000 last week, better than the expected 285,000.

Another report had productivity rising more than estimated in the third quarter.

Stocks rising in early New York trading including Whole Foods Market; the upscale grocer late Wednesday reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations. Qualcomm shares headed in the opposite direction after the chipmaker reported results late Wednesday and said an antitrust probe and difficulties collecting royalties could dent its business in China next year.

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NYSE New York Stock Exchange
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Analysts will look for hints on further stimulus after recent weak economic data. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said late on Wednesday that the ECB would have a rough time implementing U.S-style quantitative easing.

"Given still low growth and inflation, Draghi is likely to keep the door open to further actions," said analysts at Societe Generale in a note.

The Dow and S&P 500 rose to historical peaks on Wednesday, after Republicans took control of the Senate, and a better-than-expected jobs report. Private employers added 230,000 jobs in October, a seventh month of job creation. The data came before Friday's non-farm payrolls report, which is expected to show slower job gains in October.

Disney and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals will report after U.S. markets close.