US stocks futures pointed to a second consecutive day of gains on Thursday, on the back of an upbeat session in Asia.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open approximately up 65 points, while the S&P 500
and the Nasdaq are set to begin the session seven and 17 points higher respectively.
Relief for Asian equities
Most Asian equity markets closed higher on Thursday, driven by strong gains in Japanese stocks.
With markets in China and Hong Kong closed until next week for a national holiday, Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.48% to 18,182.39, buoyed by solid gains on Wall Street in the previous session.
"A two-day Chinese holiday is providing welcome regional respite from volatility linked to growth-concerns in the world's second-largest economy and of course its global knock-on," said Mike Van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
On the economic data front, weekly jobless claims are on tap at 1330 BST, with economists expecting an increase from 271,000 to 275,000.
The trade deficit for July is also released at 1330 BST and is forecast to have decreased from $43.8bn to $41.8bn.
The ISM non-manufacturing reading for August is published at 1500 BST and analysts expect a reading of 58% compared with 60.3% in July.
"The biggest issues facing the US are outside of its control, and the excessive references to China in the Beige Book suggests that the Fed will be cautious of increasing interest rates, and this is coaxing out the buyers," said IG's market analyst David Madden.
In company news, biotech group Geron surged 22.9% ahead of the bell, after saying late on Wednesday the New England Journal of Medicine would publish two reports showing positive results for its imetelstat drug.
Bank of America edged 0.95% higher after proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co advised shareholders to vote against a proposal that would let the bank's chief executive, Brian Moynihan, keep the title of chairman.
Warehouse retailer Costco Wholesale climbed 1.53% after saying late on Wednesday sales in stores open last year rose significantly during the financial year.
Elsewhere, European stocks rose, taking their cue from an upbeat session in the US, amid expectations that European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi will sound a dovish note later in the day.
was broadly flat against the euro and rose 0.18% against the pound but lost 0.25% against the yen, while gold futures shed 0.43% $1,128.70.
Oil prices edged lower, with West Texas Intermediate losing 0.41% to $46.06 a barrel, while Brent shed 0.46% to $50.27 a barrel.