Futures Hold Gains After Jobless Claims, PPI

Stock index futures pointed to a slight rise at the opening bell Thursday, but there was little to shake investors out of the malaise of the previous session, with the administration's foreclosure rescue plan failing to impress.

On the economic front, producer prices jumped 0.8 percent in January, while core wholesale prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, were up a whopping 0.4 percent.

And jobless claims were unchanged at 627,000 last week, while the four-week moving average climbed by 8,500 to 619,000.

Still to come are leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed survey on manufacturing, both at 10 a.m. ET.

The tech sector could struggle after Hewlett-Packard cut its full-year profit outlook after the bell Wednesday. Its quarterly sales fell shy of expectations and the stock fell more than 6 percent in Frankfurt trading.

H-P shares fell 4 percent in premarket trading.

Technology stocks were indicating lower broadly, with Nasdaq futures trading below fair market value.

Oil prices turned higher even with an expectedly bearish report on crude stocks due later in the morning.

But that didn't stop shares of ExxonMobil from falling 1 percent premarket after Barclays cut the energy leader to market weight.

At the same time, bank shares were mostly positive the day after a dismal performance that wasn't helped by the Obama administration's plan to help distressed homeowners. JPMorgan Chase gained about 1 percent premarket.

Markets in Europe provided some encouragement to bulls, rising in morning trading. Bank stocks climbed, led by UBS, which gained more than 3 percent after it settled allegations of aiding tax fraud with the US government.

Markets in Asia finished mostly higher.

Still to Come:

THURSDAY: Leading indicators; Philly Fed survey; weekly oil inventories; Fed's Lockhart speaks
FRIDAY: CPI; Earnings from JCPenney and Lowe's


More From CNBC.com:

Send comments to cindy.perman@nbcuni.com.