US Markets

Wall Street eyes Draghi meeting

U.S. stock index futures signaled a higher open on Thursday amid comments by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi.

The ECB will start its 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) bond-buying program on March 9, with expectations to end in September 2016, Draghi said during a press conference.

The euro edged higher but still held below $1.11. Earlier, the euro touched an 11-year low in European trading ahead of the meeting.

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The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.10 percent.

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), looks on as he unveils a new twenty-euro banknote at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, Feb. 24, 2015.
Martin Leissl | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Europe's central bank announced that it will leave its key rate unchanged at 0.05 percent. The Bank of England left its rate unchanged as well, at 0.5 percent.

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Other economic data expected Thursday include January factory orders figures at 10.00 a.m. ET.

U.S. monthly jobless claims rose 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 for the week ended Feb. 28, above estimates.

Productivity topped estimates with a decline of 2.2 percent versus estimates of a 2.3 percent decline but below the 1.8 percent pace it had reported last month.

Traders are also waiting for Friday's February U.S. jobs report, expected to be show about 240,000 nonfarm payrolls, below the 257,000 last month.

Government offices in Washington D.C. will be closed Thursday due to severe weather conditions.

Earnings reports are expected from Costco, Kroger, Canadian Natural Resources, Canadian Solar, Ciena and Joy Global Thursday morning. Cooper Cos., Diamond Foods, Esterline Tech and Fresh Market report after the close.

Food and general bulk merchandise retailer Costco Wholesale reported better-than-expected quarterly profit early Thursday, boosted by a tax benefit related to its special cash dividend last month.

Costco, the third-largest U.S. retailer, said net income rose to $598 million, or $1.35 per share, for the second quarter ended Feb. 15, from $463 million, or $1.05 per share a year earlier.

Simon Property is mulling a bid for rival mall owner Macerich, according to the Wall Street Journal. Simon hasn't made a formal offer as yet, although it did reveal a 3.6 percent stake in Macerich last year.

Piper Jaffray downgraded McDonald's to "neutral" from "overweight," saying that the stock is appropriately valued after a recent 12 percent increase, and that initiatives to increase sales may work more slowly many expect.

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Markets also await information on Fed bank stress tests, expected after the closing bell.

In Europe, equities were higher in morning trade on Thursday as investors awaited the outcome of the ECB policy meeting.