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Dow futures briefly jump more than 150 points amid data, Draghi

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday, building on Wednesday's rally which saw major averages gain more than 1.5 percent by the close after a tumultuous week of trade so far.

In Europe, stocks rallied as investors digested the European Central Bank's decision to keep interest rates unchanged. Regional stocks extended gains to rise about 2 percent and U.S. futures briefly more than doubled gains amid morning data releases and comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that kept quantitative easing unchanged while raising the cap on the amount of any one issue it could buy to 33 percent from 25 percent.

The U.S. dollar spiked, with the euro lower near $1.11.

Weekly jobless claims rose to 282,000. The overall U.S. July trade gap narrowed to $41.86 billion, while the U.S.-China trade deficit in July increased slightly to $31.58 billion from $31.46 billion in June, Reuters reported.

The flow of top-tier releases also continues, ahead of Friday's key jobs report. The August ISM non-manufacturing index is due at 10:00 a.m. ET.

The ISM non-manufacturing index is expected to slip back slightly from July's elevated reading of 60.3, which was the highest in almost a decade, to about 58, still very high by both recent and historical standards according to analysts.

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Investors also digested the latest Challenger, Gray & Christmas jobs cut report, which showed that job cuts announced by U.S.-based companies plummeted 61 percent in August after rising to a four-year high the previous month.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Friday's job numbers is the last monthly employment report before the U.S. Federal Reserve meets later on in the month, when an announcement on interest rates is widely anticipated.

"The mention in the Fed's Beige Book of some signs of wage growth was enough to give the dollar a bit of a lift heading into the Asian session and ahead of today's non-manufacturing ISM data. The impression is that the Fed remains on track to get the rate cycle underway barring a shock. The big question of course is whether the Chinese-inspired risk sell-off in recent weeks is a big enough shock to justify a delay regardless of the U.S. data in the days ahead," said global macro strategist at Societe Generale, Kit Juckes.

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U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday, partly recovering from the worst start to September in 13 years, as investors eyed calmer global markets, domestic data, and oil prices.

Energy prices have seen extreme moves so far this week. Oil fell on Thursday on a surprise build in U.S. inventory levels and a firm dollar, but a recovery in Asian shares after Wall Street posted decent gains capped losses. Brent crude dropped 9 cents to $50.40 a barrel at around 07:40 a.m. ET, while U.S. crude rose slightly to $46.29 a barrel, off the day's low of $45.65.

Earnings scheduled before the open included Medtronic, Campbell Soup, Ciena, Joy Global, and Lands' End. Cooper Cos.comes after the close.

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Asian stocks mostly recovered on Thursday as investors took heart in a positive finish on Wall Street overnight. Trading was relatively calm compared to previous sessions, with mainland share markets in China closed as the country commemorates the end of World War II. Mainland Chinese stock markets will reopen Monday, while the Hong Kong's Hang Seng reopens Friday.

—CNBC's Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.