Futures held their gains Thursday after news weekly jobless claims fell last week, adding to optimism following stronger-than-expected profit from bank titan JPMorgan.
JPMorgan shares rose, helping to turn around what had looked like a negative market open. The company reported earnings per share of $1.27, six cents ahead of expectations as the absence of a British tax on bonuses helped improve the bottom line.
On the economic front, weekly jobless claims dropped 22,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 405,000, the lowest level in almost three months, according to the Labor Department. Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 415,000.
Meanwhile, producer prices in June posted their biggest decline since Feb. 2010 as energy prices eased. The producer price index fell 0.4 percent, following a 0.2 percent rise in May, according to the Labor Department.
And retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in June, according to the Commerce Department, after dipping 0.1 percent in May. Economists had forecast sales slipping 0.1 percent according a a poll from Reuters.
May business inventories are reported at 10 am ET.