NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were looking at a stronger start on Wall Street on Thursday after the S&P 500 finished above its 100-day moving average and appeared to clear one obstacle toward another near-term pop.
Futures got a further lift after the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims dropped by 14,000 to a lower-than-expected 289,000 last week and the four-week claims average fell to its lowest level since February 2006. The markets were also keeping an eye on the Federal Reserve's June consumer credit growth report at 3 p.m. EDT as well as the European Central Bank's post-meeting announcements on Thursday. The ECB , as expected, kept benchmark rates at record lows. Investors will be listening for insight from ECB Mario Draghi on how much the eurozone economy has been hurt by the West's strained relations with Russia over Ukraine.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were rising by 38 points, or 43.66 points above fair value, to 16,433, while S&P 500 futures were ahead by 7 points, or 6.81 points above fair value, to 1,921.75. Nasdaq futures were ticking up 11.5 points, or 12.73 points above fair value, to 3,880.3.
Earnings reports from CBS (CBS) and games maker Zynga (ZNGA) are expected after the market close as the earnings season begins to wind down. Zynga is expected by analysts on Thursday to report second-quarter break-even earnings on sales of $191.2 million. CBS is forecast to report second-quarter profit of 71 cents a share on revenue of $3.24 billion.
Shares of mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO) were advancing 1.35% to $57.94 in premarket trading after it said underlying profit in the first half of 2014 rose 21% as it benefited from rising production of iron ore. 21st Century Fox (FOXA) reported on Wednesday better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings a day after it called off its pursuit of rival media giant Time Warner (TWX). Shares of Fox were surging 4.3% to $33.72.
Bank of America (BAC) was up 1.38% to $15.41. The bank and the Justice Department are finalizing a deal in which the bank will pay $16 billion to $17 billion to resolve allegations of mortgage-related misconduct in the run-up to the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Barnes & Noble (BKS - Get Report) was 1.51% higher to $21.51 as the company and Google (GOOGL - Get Report) partner to take on Amazon.com (AMZN) by focusing on a service that Amazon has long dominated: the fast, cheap delivery of books, according to the New York Times.
-- By Andrea Tse in New York