US stock futures mildly up after claims, Wal-Mart

U.S. stock-index futures rose on Thursday, as investors welcomed earnings from Wal-Mart Stores and data on the labor market.

Wal-Mart advanced after the retail giantreported an increase in third-quarter revenue.

Stock futures retained slight gains after the government's count of those filing for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to 290,000 last week.

Shoppers consider televisions at a Walmart in Los Angeles on Black Friday.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
Shoppers consider televisions at a Walmart in Los Angeles on Black Friday.

The day will also see the JOLTS job openings report, out at 10 a.m. The print is based on the sample used for the much-watched nonfarm payrolls, but is a lagging indicator covering September.

"In order for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be comfortable that the labor market has returned to more of a normalized state, the hiring and quits rates each need to improve several tenths from their current readings," said Deutsche Bank analysts led by Jim Reid in a research note on Thursday.

"The recent trend in claims data might suggest that the two series should improve significantly over the next several quarters."

Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser will also speak on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, New York Fed President William Dudley said that low inflation meant it will still early for the central bank to raise interest rates.

Speaking at the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi,, Dudley called for "patience" and said he expected rates to rise sometime next year.

Cisco Systems reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped expectations after the market close on Wednesday. Shares rose more than 2 percent in after-hours trade before turning negative.

Brent crude will likely be in focus on Wall Street, as it is trading around $80 per barrel—close to a 2010 low. OPEC has said demand for its oil will fall next year, while Saudi Arabia has dropped no hints of a possible cut in production.