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Wall Street on standby ahead of Draghi remarks

U.S. stock index futures signaled a flat-to-higher open on Thursday ahead of comments by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi, scheduled ahead of Wall Street's open.

Investors will watch the ECB's latest meeting in Cyprus for clues as to when the central bank might start its 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) bond-buying program. The euro fell to an 11-year low in early European trading ahead of the meeting.

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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
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.

"Despite valid doubts about the ECB's ability to purchase the targeted 60 billion euro of assets against the backdrop of a deposit rate of -20bps, very low and often negative bond yields, and limited net new issuance over coming quarters, we fully expect Draghi to be upbeat about the likely impact of the program," said Chris Scicluna, economist at Daiwa Capital.

"Indeed, that optimism is likely to be most visible in the ECB's economic forecasts for 2017, which are set to be published for the first time."

The bank is scheduled to issue a rate announcement at 7:45 a.m. ET, with Draghi's press conference due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Read MoreECB QE great, but reforms needed: Cyprus Fin Min

Other economic data expected Thursday include January factory orders figures at 10.00 a.m. ET, with revised fourth-quarter productivity and unit labour cost figures due together, along with the usual weekly jobless claims numbers all at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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.

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 Marketreport after the close.

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 policy meetings by both the ECB and Bank of England.