Futures higher as oil trades near 2016 highs; data eyed

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U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday morning, helped by extended gains in oil prices, as traders eyed the release of another batch of data and some earnings in the retail sector.

Weekly jobless claims rose to 294,000. Import prices rose 0.3 percent in April, while export prices rose 0.5 percent.

WTI hit a fresh intraday high for 2016 in morning trade and was last trading about 0.9 percent higher near $46.70 a barrel.

Futures trimmed gains slightly after the morning data but held higher, with Dow futures up about 70 points as of 8:52 a.m. ET. Treasury yields held higher after initially edging off session highs.

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The Dow Jones industrial average logged its biggest daily fall since February on Wednesday, Reuters data showed, after disappointing retail earnings rattled investors' nerves.

Thursday saw Ralph Lauren and Party City report before the bell, with Nordstrom set to report after the bell. Kohl's also reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results.

Any more misses in retailers' earnings Thursday could stir up bigger concerns about the consumer. Retail plunged and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) was down 4.4 percent in its worst day since August 2011. Macy's was the latest retailer to disappoint with worse than expected sales and a negative forecast.

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In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index reversed to trade more than half a percent higher Thursday morning ET. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed 0.41 percent higher on Thursday, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 0.01 percent lower.

—CNBC's Patti Domm contributed to this report