U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open Thursday as fears of contagion from the European debt crisis eased.
Futures held their ground following a government report showing that jobless claims improved slightly over the past week, wit 448,000 new filings compared to expectations of 445,000.
European shares were higher after two sessions of declines as Spain joined the growing list of European countries having debt downgrads Wednesday. Asian indexes ended mixed.
"Our view is that (the debt crisis) will not impact the global economic recovery, it will not derail it," Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, told CNBC.
"What you really want to be doing if you're a long-term investor is positioning your portfolio for that continued growth. You want to be overweighted the earlier cyclical sectors," Pavlik said.
The stock market's recent down days have proved much more decisive than its up days. The Dow has risen for 13 of the past 15 sessions. But its gains for the positive sessions total about 487 points, while its losses for the two negative sessions total 339 points.
Before the opening bell, the latest earnings will be release from Aetna, Apache, Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers, Cardinal Health, Colgate-Palmolive, ConocoPhillips, Dominion, Eastman Kodak, Fortune Brands, Starwood Hotels, International Paper, Interpublic, Kellogg, Motorola, Mylan, Occidental Petroleum, Procter & Gamble, Safeway, Time Warner Cable, Viacom, Waste Management, and Exxon Mobil.