US futures higher; oil gains 2.5%

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U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday as traders eyed oil and continued to digest the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting.

Oil rose on Wednesday after more reports about a preliminary accord among some major oil producing nations to freeze production. In oil markets on Thursday, Brent crude traded at $35.26 a barrel, up 2.2 percent, while U.S. crude was at $31.40 a barrel, up 2.5 percent.

Dow futures briefly gained about 100 points, while S&P and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a higher open.

Weekly jobless claims came in at 262,000. The Philly Fed came in at minus 2.8 for February.

Leading indicators are due at 10:00 a.m.

The Fed minutes, released on Wednesday, signaled that its members see risks increasing. Most U.S. central bank officials were still looking to raise rates and even discussed whether a rate hike could be appropriate in January.

After a discussion, they said tighter financial conditions could be the equivalent of further increases.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed up 2.28 percent, while the Shanghai Composite in China closed 0.16 percent lower.

In Europe, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was 0.8 percent higher.

On the earnings front, Applied Materials, Nordstrom and Boston Beer are expected after the bell.

— CNBC's Patti Domm contributed to this report