Stock index futures showed relatively little reaction to the mixed economic reports out before the bell.
Earlier, futures pared gains after economic bellwether FedEx reported earnings in line with estimates but said revenue fell 27 percent and the company's profit was hit by rising fuel costs. Shares dropped nearly 1 percent in premarket trading.
In company news, Immunogen said it licensed its technology to develop anticancer drugs to Amgen. Immunogen will get a $1 million payment up front and milestone payments of up to $34 million on future royalties. Immunogen shares jumped 10.6 percent in premarket trading.
Nasdaq futures overall were slightly below fair market value.
Elsewhere, Synovus, a Columbus, Ga.-based bank holding company, priced a public stock offering at $4 a share and expects proceeds of $600 million, nearly double an estimate from earlier this week. But the loss of premium from Wednesday's closing sent shares down 6.8 percent premarket.
Meanwhile, the probe into the financial crisis begins in earnest Thursday as a fact-finding panel will hold its first meeting. The Obama administration will be closely watching the panel’s findings in the hope of gaining ammunition to use for its push to tougher regulation.
And the first sale of toxic assets to a private entity took place, in a test of the government’s program to clean up bank balance sheets by selling troubled loans. Texas-based mortgage servicer Residential Credit Solutionsis the first buyer of a stake in a portfolio of residential mortgage loans fromFranklin Bank, a Texas bank that failed last year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The major indexes hit new highs for the year at the close Wednesday, adding to a strong performance for stocks over recent weeks.
Asian stocks closed broadly higher with Chinese, Japanese and Hong Kong stocks surging ahead. European stocks were also broadly higher.
The price of gold remained relatively high, with the spot price holding above $1,020 per troy ounce, as the dollar remained on the backfoot.
On the earnings front, parcel-delivery firm FedEx will report numbers ahead of the opening bell.