U.S. stock index futures signaled a higher open on Thursday, ahead of key media company earnings and after the European Central Bank (ECB) put more pressure on Greece's new government.
Futures were also encouraged by a positive turn in oil by more than 2.5 percent after Wednesday's nearly 9 percent plunge.
The gains came as European equities moved lower, after the ECB took a hard line on Greek debt Wednesday, revoking a waiver that allowed banks to use Greek government debt as collateral for loans.
Futures extended gains slightly after digesting U.S. economic data. Weekly jobless claims came in at 278,000, below estimates of 290,000 and above last week's 267,000 figure.
Non-farm productivity fell a greater-than-expected 1.8 percent for the fourth quarter. Economists had forecast productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, rising at a 0.5 percent pace.
The U.S. trade deficit for December widened sharply to its highest level since 2012. The Commerce Department said on Thursday the trade deficit jumped 17.1 percent to $46.6 billion, the largest since November 2012. It was the biggest percentage increase since July 2009.
The number of planned layoffs by U.S. employers rose to a nearly two-year high in January as the energy industry slashed jobs in the face of falling oil prices, according to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.