Futures Higher; Little Moved by Job Picture

Stock futures pointed to a higher open Thursday, moved little by economic reports showing slow growth in the jobs picture and a drop in productivity.

The government said initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 455,000 last week, though the number of people still receiving benefits rose unexpectedly.

A separate report from ADP showed that the private sector added 55,000 jobs in May, less than expected.

Stocks saw their third best day of the year Wednesday, thanks to a late-session rally, with each of the three major indexes ending more than 2 percent higher. Energy and financials shares were the lead gainers after better-than-expected housing data boosted investor sentiment.

The Dow has now had triple digit moves in 19 of the past 26 sessions dating back to April 27. In the month prior to that date, the Dow had only two triple-digit moves.

European stocks surged in morning trading and Asian stocks ended sharply higher across the board as confidence in the economic recovery returned.

The euro rose against the dollar, which edged higher against a basket of foreign currencies. Credit spreads tightened, with three-month Libor rising to 0.5378 percent and the Ted spread, or the difference between Libor and the three-month Treasury note, increasing to 0.3958 percent.

In corporate news, JPMorgan has been fined $49.12 million by the UK's industry watchdog, the Financial Services Authority, for not protecting client money over a period of seven years. The fine is the largest the FSA has ever handed out.

BPcontinues its attempt to slow oil spewing from its leaking pipe in the Gulf, with only halting progress being made as oil washes ashore in Alabama and Mississippi.

BP shares built on Wednesday's gains, rising 4 percent in premarket trading.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nielsen Holdings, the largest provider of TV ratings, is planning to file for an IPO soon.

Staying with IPOs, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the All Things Digital Conference that he has no particular date in mind to take his company public.

Retail sales data will be released throughout the day, with Costco saying it saw sales in stores open at least a year rise 9 percent in May, a bit less than Wall Street expectations.

Costco shares fell 1.2 percent in premarket trading.

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is set to deliver a speech at 11:15 am in Detroit at a conference on small business financing. Fed bank presidents Hoenig, Rosengren, Lockhart, and Fisher also have speeches at various times throughout the day.

Ahead of the weekend meeting of G20 nations, British finance minister George Osborne said China's yuan will be a topic of discussion, while a variety of participants, including U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, say a deal on a specific bank bailout "tax" is highly unlikely at the gathering.