NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were rising early Thursday, breaking free from a lethargic session a day earlier in which benchmark indexes closed flat.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.56%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures added 0.57%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.66%.
U.S. producer prices fell for the seventh time in nine months in April, down 0.4%, as lower gas and food costs continue to cause headwinds for the economy. Economists had expected no change after a 0.2% increase in March.
Weekly jobless claims remained at a 15-year low, indicative of a tightening labor market. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the week ended May 9 fell 1,000 to 264,000. Economists had expected claims to rise to 275,000.
Positive earnings reports also were helping to drive markets higher. Shake Shack (SHAK) surged nearly 7% in premarket trading after reporting its first quarterly results since going public. The burger chain earned 4 cents a share, better than an estimated loss of 3 cents, while revenue jumped 56.3% from a year earlier.
J.C. Penney (JCP) added 2% after reporting a loss of 55 cents a share, far narrower than estimates of a loss of 77 cents. Revenue climbed 2% to $2.857 billion.
They weren't all winners though. Kohl's (KSS) fell more than 10% after sales missed estimates. The retail chain reported revenue of $4.12 billion, up 1.2% from a year earlier, though revenue fell short of estimates by $70 million. Comparable-store sales rose 1.4% in its fiscal first quarter.
Cisco (CSCO) shares fell despite a quarterly earnings beat. The tech giant reported earnings of 54 cents a share, just edging out estimates of 53 cents. Revenue rose 5.1% to $12.1 billion, slightly better than estimates of $12.07 billion.
Tesla (TSLA) shares were on watch on news the company could introduce an autonomous car-passing feature on newer Model S vehicles. The rollout of the software is uncertain.
Greece's debt repayments to the European Central Bank should be delayed given the viability of its debt, according to the nation's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis. The government official said on Thursday that the finance ministry would "have to borrow 6.7 billion euros from our partners in one way or the other to repay bonds" over July to August.
Debt talks between Greece and its eurozone creditors are still ongoing. Recent data showed the country still in recession over the first quarter with GDP down 0.2% compared to a 0.4% drop in the fourth quarter.