US stock futures add to gains after retail sales

U.S. stock-index futures furthered modest gains on Thursday after retail-sales data for November cast a positive light on the holiday shopping season.

Up 28 points just before the economic reports, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were lately ahead 55 points within five minutes of their release.

Retail sales increased 0.7 percent last month and jobless claims came declined by 3,000 to 294,000 last week.

Stocks could shake off oil funk

On the supply side, the U.S. Treasury is scheduled to conduct a 30-Year government bond auction.

Read MoreECB lending meets estimates; euro falls

European stock markets were higher in morning trade on Thursday as a bounce in oil prices helped boosted sentiment after a key data release from the European Central Bank (ECB).

Investors in the region welcomed the results of the second cheap loans operation - known as a targeted long-term refinancing operation (TLTRO) - by the ECB, which managed to meet market expectations on Thursday amid calls for the central bank to do more to help kick start the region's economy.

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday as the price of crude fell to a new five-year low and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its demand outlook for next year.

However, the price of oil received a slight bounce on Thursday morning, with Brent futures rising to $64.46 per barrel.

Read MoreEurope higher as oil bounces back

Thursday's earnings include Adobe Systems, Esterline Tech, Nordson and Quiksilver after the bell.