NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a higher open Thursday after initial claims saw a bigger-than-expected decline although investors were keeping a cautious eye on the latest progress on a plan for the eurozone. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were gaining 45 points, or 44 points above fair value, at 11,489. Futures for the S&P 500 were adding 5 points, or 6 points above fair value, to 1212, and futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 7 points, or 12 points above fair value.
In addition to earnings results and the fresh U.S. economic data, investors were also awaiting the latest headlines from Europe regarding policymakers' efforts to agree on a definitive plan to contain the region's sovereign debt crisis. France and Germany are reportedly still hashing out how big the private sector's contribution to Greece's second rescue package should be. Market watchers are anxious to see whether European leaders will emerge from an Oct. 23 summit with a comprehensive plan for the eurozone. Also on Thursday, reports surfaced that former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has been captured. According to a separate Reuters report that couldn't be independently confirmed, Gaddafi died from wounds suffered in his capture. Germany's DAX was slipping 0.3%, and London's FTSE was declining 0.7%. Overnight, Asian markets fell on concerns that a eurozone plan won't be reached by the weekend. Japan's Nikkei Average tumbled 1%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 1.8%. On Wednesday, U.S. shares slumped amid ongoing concerns about the reality of an impending plan for the eurozone and a cautious outlook from the Federal Reserve's latest report on economic conditions. The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, was slipping 0.3%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 2/32, lifting the yield to 2.171%. The Labor Department reported a bigger-than-expected decline in the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time. Initial jobless claims fell by 6,000 to 403,000 in the week ended Oct. 15, exceeding economists' expectations for a decline of 4,000. The National Association of Realtors will report on September existing-home sales at 10 a.m. The market is anticipating a 2% decline to 4.93 million, from 5.03 million previously. At the same time, the Conference Board will release its leading indicators report for September. The index is expected to rise 0.3% after similar growth in August. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will also report on business activity across the region. The Philly Fed Index is expected to come in at a reading of -9.8 in October after the prior month's level of -17.5. In Thursday's earnings news, AT&T ( T) met analysts' profit expectations with earnings of 61 cents a share but sales of $31.48 billion came in short of estimates for revenue of $31.62 billion. The stock was shedding 2.1% to $28.49 during the premarket session. Fifth Third Bancorp ( FITB) beat analysts' profit expectations on lower loan loss provisions. The company reported third-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, compared with the profit of 33 cents a share that Wall Street had projected. Shares of eBay ( EBAY) were losing 4.8% to $31.60 ahead of Thursday's opening bell after the online auctioneer posted a quarterly profit that met expectations and gave a weaker-than-expected outlook for the current period late Wednesday. Stronger-than-expected results from networking gear provider Riverbed Technology ( RVBD) late in the prior session were helping to push stocks up 14.1% to $25.70 during early trading on Thursday. In commodity markets, gold for December delivery was shedding $20.40 to trade at $1,626.60 an ounce. The December crude oil contract was gaining 36 cents, to trade at $86.65 a barrel. -- Written by Melinda Peer in New York.