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Dow futures up as the Street hopes for another rally

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a sharply higher open Thursday, with the Dow indicating gains of nearly 200 points at the open, following the stellar close seen on Wednesday.

Investors will eye a key meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole and some major economic data releases. The annual Economic Policy Symposium in Wyoming start on Thursday and brings together academics, financial market participants and many of the world's leading central bankers.

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The event will be eyed for signals as to near-term monetary policy action in the U.S., although many monetary policymakers are seen opting out, including U.S. Federal Chair Janet Yellen and Daniel Tarullo, a member of the Fed's Board of Governors.

Thursday's markets could first be in for a dose of positive news on the U.S. economy, with the second estimate of second-quarter GDP out at 8:30 a.m. ET. This is expected to be revised up sharply from the first read of an annualized 2.3 percent.

Initial claims data will also come at 8:30 a.m., followed by pending home sales at 10:00 a.m. ET.

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Some major earnings are also due for release Thursday, including Dollar General, Tiffany and Signet Jewelers are before market open. Autodesk, GameStop, Smith & Wesson and Splunk are due after the bell.

After five days of gut-wrenching, triple-digit declines, the Dow surged 619 points into Wednesday's close, finishing the day at 16,285. The S&P 500 was up nearly 73 at 1,940.5.

Stock markets in Asia and Europe saw strong gains Thursday, with China's Shanghai Composite index closing up 5.4 percent to reclaim the critical 3,000 mark, tracking the upbeat sentiment across the region underpinned by Wall Street's biggest one-day gain since 2011 overnight.

The positive close in China marked the first higher finish in five trading sessions after sentiment in the U.S. managed to outweigh the fears surrounding China's slowing economy, which has been partly responsible for the recent sell off seen in global stocks.

In Europe, equities followed suit, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 up 3 percent in mid-morning trade.

Comments from New York Fed President William Dudley, who said the case for a U.S. interest rate hike in September has become less compelling, also helped lift markets. However, he did not say September was off the table, instead adding that the Fed would review data and market conditions.