NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open Thursday as initial weekly jobless claims came in largely as expected, rising 18,000 to 409,000. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 32 points, or 35 points above fair value, at 11,696. Futures for the S&P 500 were 4 points higher, or nearly 4 points above fair value, at 1,276, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 7 points, or 8 points above fair value. The number of people filing for jobless claims for the first time rose by 18,000 to 409,000 during the week ended Jan. 1 from a revised 391,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said. Economists had expected claims to increase by 17,000, according to Briefing.com. Stocks strengthened Wednesday as the ADP employment change report showed better-than-expected private-sector job growth of 297,000, and activity within the services sector also grew by more than anticipated in December. Economists expect the Labor Department's unemployment report on Friday to show that the economy added 150,000 jobs in December and that the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.7%, from 9.8%, according to Briefing.com. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1%, and stocks in Japan rose to a nearly eight-month high on a weaker yen . The Nikkei gained 1.4%. London's FTSE was adding 0.7%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was ahead by 1.4%.
ARM Holdings ( ARMH) saw its stock jump 8.5% to $23.73 ahead of the bell on news that the next generation of Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows operating system will work with the "system on a chip" designs of ARM . Shares of casual-dining restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday ( RT) were up 4.9% at $14.69 after it beat quarterly earnings expectations by 2 cents per share with a profit of $4.6 million, or 7 cents per share. Shares of BP ( BP) were up 1.7% to $47.29 in early trading after a U.S. presidential commission diffused blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill across BP's contractors and regulators in addition to BP.