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) -- Stock futures were pointing to a much stronger open Thursday as investors cheered better-than-expected economic data and Germany's approval of a measure to increase the eurozone bailout fund.

Futures for the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

were up by 125 points, or 164 points above fair value, at 11,101. Futures for the

S&P 500

were adding 13 points, or 17 points above fair value, at 1162, and


futures were ahead by 25 points, or 27 points above fair value, at 2243.

Stocks squashed a three-day winning streak Wednesday as investor optimism about the progress of European debt discussions faded.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time saw a bigger-than-expected drop in the week ended Sept.24, falling below the 400,000 level to 391,000. Economists had only expected initial claims to drop to 420,000, according to

The economy grew by more than previously thought in the second quarter, according to the Department of Commerce, which upwardly revised its final gross domestic product reading to 1.3% from 1%. Economists had only anticipated an upward revision to 1.2%.

Also contributing to positive sentiment, the German parliament approved a proposal to expand the European Financial Stability Facility, easing concerns about recent disagreements regarding how big the write-downs of private creditors' holdings of Greek bonds should be. Slovenia and Finland voted the measure through their parliaments earlier in the week. All 17 members of the eurozone must agree to the changes for the proposal to pass.

Development in the eurozone, including a new property tax passed by the Greek Parliament and comments from European leaders promising to do whatever it takes to stabilize the region, had helped investors to feel more optimistic about policymakers' commitment to developing a unified stabilization plan.

The FTSE in London was falling 0.7%, while the DAX in Frankfurt was up by 0.05%. Overnight, in Asia, the Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7%, while Japan's Nikkei added 1%.

At 10 a.m., the National Association of Realtors will release pending-home sales data for August. Sales are expected to fall 1.5% in August after declining by 1.3% in July.


(MSFT) - Get Free Report

nabbed a key win in a smartphone patent war with


, which

agreed to pay Microsoft royalties

for every handset with the Android operating system that Samsung sells. Microsoft's stock was gaining 1.1% to $25.85 during the premarket session.

Shares of


(NOK) - Get Free Report

were rising 2.2% to $5.67 ahead of Thursday's opening bell on news that the Finnish handset company

plans to cut another 3,500 jobs by 2012




(F) - Get Free Report

CEO said the company is

sticking to its target of adding 7,000 U.S. jobs over the next two years


In commodities markets, the November crude oil contract was adding 40 cents to trade at $81.61 a barrel, and gold for December delivery was down by $2.60 to trade at $1,615.50 an ounce.

The dollar was falling against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.5%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was declining 5/32, lifting the yield to 1.997%.

-- Written by Melinda Peer in New York


Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.