Stock futures extended gains Thursday as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi struck a dovish tone.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.93%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 0.74%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 1.1%.
Draghi said Thursday that the impact of the ECB's current stimulus program has been "significant, if not spectacular." The ECB president also said additional stimulus might be needed in response to current events, including new lows in crude oil prices since the organization's December meeting. The ECB left interest rates unchanged following its meeting Thursday morning.
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. hit their highest level since July, though remained at multiyear lows. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to 293,000. The four-week jobless claims average, a less volatile measure, rose 6,500 to 285,000, its highest level since April 2015.
Crude oil prices were lower on Thursday after the American Petroleum Institute reported a build in U.S. crude inventories of 4.5 million barrels last week, around double analysts' estimates. Official numbers from the Energy Information Administration will be released mid-morning on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 1.1% to $28.05 a barrel.
It was a busy morning on the earnings calendar.Verizon (VZ) added nearly 1% in premarket trading after reporting adjusted earnings of 89 cents a share, a penny above estimates. The telecom said it added 99,000 Fios Internet customers in the fourth quarter.
Southwest Airlines (LUV) jumped more than 3% after nearly tripling its profit in its fourth quarter. The airline said a 37% decline in fuel and oil expenses helped to push quarterly profit higher. Southwest expects fuel costs in the current quarter of around $1.70 a gallon, down from $2 in the same quarter last year.