U.S. equities futures were modestly in the black on Thursday as European markets treaded water just above breakeven, helped by crude oil gains amid lower production.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up over 3% recently at $45.14 while Brent crude added 2.5% to $45.75.
At 8:30 a.m. E.T. data are expected to show claims in the week ended April 30 rose to 262,000 from 257,000 the preceding week. The consensus range is between 256,000 and 271,000. Meanwhile on Friday, the April employment situation report is expected to show a slight dip in unemployment to 4.9% from 5.0%.
In equities, e-commerce giant Alibaba ( BABA ) shares rose over 4% in pre-market trade as its quarterly revenue beat expectations while pharmaceutical company Merck ( MRK ) edged up nearly 1% on mixed Q1 results and 2016 guidance in line with the market's expectations.
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