US stock-index futures turn up with price of crude

U.S. stock-index futures rose on Thursday, as crude's climb above $50 a barrel overrode U.S. economic reports and an unexpected move by the Swiss National Bank, which abandoned its peg against the euro.

U.S. oil futures rose as high as $51.27 a barrel, and were lately up 3.8 percent at $50.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The government said wholesale prices fell 0.3 percent in December, while another Labor Department report had a larger-than-expected number of Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, with claims rising by 19,000 to 316,000.

"Claims are up more than expected, (and) the possibility of deflation is escalating. As far as the market is concerned, the saving grace is oil prices are back over $50, it helps negate some of the sour earnings out of the banking sector today," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

Bank of America dropped in pre-market trading after the bank reported a 14 percent fall in quarterly profit; Citigroup also declined as it posted a slim fourth-quarter profit.

Swiss stocks tumbled 10 percent and the Swiss franc soared as much as 30 percent against the euro and traded 12 percent higher against the dollar, after the bank ditched its three-year-old cap against the euro.

Read MoreUS Treasurys rally after Swiss bank scraps cap

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The move initially pressured both European stocks and U.S. stock futures lower. German bond yields hit record lows and gold prices 1.7 percent to $1,250 as investors flocked to safety.

Read MoreFranc jumps as Swiss central bank scraps euro ceiling

Meanwhile, basic resources stocks in Europe were hit once again on Thursday on the back of falling oil prices, and a number of oil stocks gave up earlier gains.

Investors will also be watching for developments after Reuters reported on Wednesday that Samsung had recently approached BlackBerry to buy the company for as much as $7.5 billion.