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Futures Hold Gains After Jobless Report

Wall Street is set for a slightly higher open Thursday, after the previous session's late rally halted the negative momentum that had been clearly evident in the markets on Tuesday.

That rally came after CNBC reported that Citigroup wants to repay TARP money by raising capital in an equity offering.

Overseas debt concerns will continue to be a topic in the spotlight, as will economic numbers.

Those gains held up even after the government said claims for unemployment benefits rose after falling for five straight weeks.

The Labor Department said the number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose to 474,000, up from 457,000 last week. Economists were expecting claims of 460,000.

The report is the latest evidence that the recovery will be bumpy, which means the Federal Reserve will likely keep interest rates low for some time.

Low interest rates and the resulting decline in the dollar have encouraged investors to buy stocks and commodities.

The Treasury will hold yet another auction today, selling $13 billion in 30-year bonds. The results, as usual, will be available shortly after 1 pm. Tuesday's 3-year Note auction saw strong demand, while Wednesday's sale of 10-year Notes was on the weak side.

The Bank of England is out with its latest pronouncement on interest rates at 7 am, with the bank expected to keep rates unchanged once again.

At 1:45 pm, Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke is scheduled to speak at a Chicago Fed conference.

Costco, the largest warehouse retailer, is already out with its quarterly numbers, earning 60 cents a share for its first quarter, one cent ahead of analyst estimates. Later on, networking equipment maker Ciena will report.

Other stocks to watch today could include Cadbury, as the Wall Street Journal reports that Hershey is nearing a decision on whether to make a bid for Cadbury, which has consistently rejected overtures by Kraft Foods.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

Elsewhere in the news today: RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure filings fell 8% In November, even as millions of borrowers continue to be evaluated for the administration's foreclosure prevention effort. This afternoon, the government will release its latest figures on loan modifications, including how many have gone from "trial" to "permanent" status.

The House will debate the financial regulation overhaul bill today. That legislation proposes the most sweeping changes to regulation since the 1930s.

- Written by Peter Schacknow, Senior Producer, CNBC Breaking News Desk