(By Balachander) U.S. stock index futures trimmed their gains amid reports that the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed on a new bond-buying plan aimed to address the euro zone debt woes.
Mini Dow Industrial Average futures rose 62 points to 13,112. The Nasdaq futures added 10.75 points to 2,778.25. Standard and Poor's 500 futures gained 6.30 points to 1,409.80.
The ECB kept its main interest rate unchanged on Thursday and President Mario Draghi said the policy makers agreed on the new bond-purchase plan to protect the euro.
On the domestic economic front, the ADP National Employment report showed that U.S. private sector added 201,000 jobs in August, up from a revised 173,000 in July, and also topped expectations for an addition of 140,000 jobs.
The number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits were fewer than expected for the week ended Sept. 1, a government data showed. Jobless claims fell 12,000 to 365,000 last week from a revised 377,000, while economists projected 370,000 applications.
The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for August is due at 10 a.m. ET, with expectations of a reading of 52.5 percent, edging down from 52.6 percent in July.
On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note ahead of the ECB meet on Thursday and domestic jobs data on Friday.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: NAV,HRB, PAY, MW, O, ARCT, OCZ, FCEL
In corporate news, Navistar International Corp. (NYSE:NAV) posted a sharply lower quarterly profit as a hefty income tax benefit boosted results in the year-ago period. However, the truck maker reported better-than-expected revenue for the third quarter. Shares jumped 5.68 percent in premarket.
H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss due to lower costs despite a 4.1 percent decline in revenue, which missed consensus.
VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE:PAY) plunged 11.45 percent in premarket after provider of secure electronic payment services issued a downbeat revenue guidance for the fourth quarter following weaker-than-expected third-quarter revenue.
Men's Wearhouse Inc. (NYSE:MW) shares jumped 11.68 percent in premarket after the Houston, Texas-based company increased its forecast for the full year following better-than-estimated quarterly earnings.
Realty Income Corp. (NYSE:O), an equity real estate investment trust (REIT), has agreed to acquire American Realty Capital Trust Inc. (NASDAQ:ARCT) for roughly $2.95 billion. ARCT shares climbed 8.70 percent in premarket and O stock added 5.70 percent.
OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) tumbled 27.99 percent in premarket after the maker of solid-state drives (SSDs) reduced its revenue outlook for the second quarter, blaming constraints in NAND flash supply.
FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ:FCEL) retreated 13.00 percent after the company posted a wider-than-expected loss for the third quarter.
European markets traded higher, with Germany's DAX up 1.48 percent to trade at 7,067.99. France's CAC40 advanced 1.41 percent to trade at 3,453.89. U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.70 percent to trade at 5,697.51.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.70 percent to finish at 2,051.92. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.01 percent to end at 8,680.57. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.34 percent to close at 19,209.30. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,346.27, up 0.19 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Ahead of the opening bell, crude oil futures gained 0.98 percent to $96.29 per barrel. Gold futures climbed 0.75 percent to $1,706.7 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.02 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2598, and the British pound edged 0.01 percent lower to 1.5901. The dollar rose 0.50 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.7800.