NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a slightly higher open on Wall Street Thursday after China posted growth figures that suggested the worst was over for the world's No. 2 economy.
European stocks were mostly higher while Asian shares finished Thursday's session with gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose by 2% to close at 8,982.86.
China said growth in the third quarter was 7.4%, slower than the previous quarter's 7.6% growth but a much gentler decline than before.
The economic calendar in the U.S. Thursday includes weekly initial and continuing jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Philadelphia Fed regional manufacturing activity survey at 10 a.m., and leading indicators for September at 10 a.m.
U.S. stocks on Wednesday overcame weakness in the tech sector to close in positive territory as strength in housing starts prompted a rally in basic materials stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 5 points, or 0.04%, to finish at 13,557.
Dow component Verizon (VZ - Get Report) posted quarterly profit Thursday of $1.59 billion, or 56 cents a share, compared with $1.37 billion, or 49 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue came in at $29 billion, up from $27.91 billion last year. Excluding items, Verizon posted earnings of 64 cents a share. Analysts were calling for earnings of 64 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $29 billion.
Google (GOOG - Get Report), the Internet search giant, is slated to report its third-quarter results after the closing bell Thursday, and the average estimate of analysts calls for a profit of $10.65 a share on revenue of $11.86 billion.
Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), the software giant, is expected by analysts Thursday to post fiscal first-quarter profit of 56 cents a share on revenue of $16.42 billion.
Companies issuing earnings reports early Thursday include Alliance Data Systems (ADS), BB&T (BBT), Blackstone Group (BX), Boston Scientific (BSX), Briggs & Stratton (BGG), Cypress Semiconductor (CY), Danaher (DHR), Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Genuine Parts (GPC), KeyCorp (KEY), Morgan Stanley (MS), Nokia (NOK), Philip Morris International (PM), Snap-On (SNI), SUPERVALU (SVU), Travelers (TRV) and Union Pacific (UNP).