U.S. Stock Futures Point to Higher Open

But there's more news to come from the struggling financials space.
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Updated from 6:54 a.m. EDT

Premarket futures were pointing to a higher open for stocks in New York Thursday after stocks plummeted the previous day.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 10.5 points to 1173 and were 15 points above fair value.

Nasdaq

futures were up 20 points at 1667 and were 24.6 points ahead of fair value.

On Wednesday, stocks took a severe beating following the government bailout of insurance firm

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

, which reminded investors of the severity and scope of the credit crisis. Pessimism on Wall Street was ramping in the wake of the AIG bailout, a bankruptcy for

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

and a last-minute merger between

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

.

Ahead of Thursday's trading, more news emerged from the struggling financials space.

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

hired

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

to help it prepare for a sale, while private equity firm TPG had helped clear the way for a merger by waiving an anti-dilution clause that would make WaMu pay for any dilution related to a capital raise or buyout.

Meanwhile,

The New York Times

reported that

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

was in discussions to merge with

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

. On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs shares both faced pressure as investors speculated about which financial firm would be the next to fall.

The

Federal Reserve

and other central banks announced Thursday they would coordinate efforts to mitigate damage from the credit crisis. The Fed said it would provide an additional $180 billion for its temporary reciprocal currency arrangements. This added support would provide dollar funding for both term and overnight liquidity operations by other central banks.

As for earnings, shipping firm

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

before the opening bell reported first-quarter earnings of $384 million, or $1.23 a share, vs. $494 million, or $1.58 a share, a year ago. Despite the drop in EPS, the results met Thomson Reuters analyst estimates.

In the commodities space, crude oil was rising $4.09 at $101.25. Gold was up $28.30 at $878.80 an ounce, after settling up $70 an ounce on Wednesday, the biggest one-day price jump ever.

Shifting to economic data, the Department of Labor's reported a surprise rise in initial jobless claims to a seasonally adjusted 455,000 for the week ended Sept. 13, up 10,000 from the prior week. Analysts had expected the figure to dip to 440,000, but the report reflects job losses associated with Hurricane Gustav. Traders also will be taking in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing index today.

Longer-dated Treasury securities were falling in price. The 10-year note was down 8/32, yielding 3.44%. The 30-year was 16/32 lower to yield 4.1%.

Overseas, European indices including the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were gaining ground. Asian markets, such as the Nikkei in Tokyo and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, finished in the red.