Stock index futures rose on Thursday on optimism the European Central Bank will introduce new policies to help contain the euro zone's debt crisis.
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi faces the most decisive moment of his presidency on Thursday when he tries to heal divisions among policymakers at the bank's monthly meeting and deliver on his promise to save the euro. After the meeting, Draghi will address a news conference at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
Investors want to hear how the ECB will start a new bond-buying program to help bring down the borrowing costs of Spain and Italy, after disagreements between bank policymakers over the plan were played out in public last week.
Reflecting such sentiment, Spain's borrowing costs dropped sharply at a debt auction on Thursday from previous sales, although any relief may be brief if the European Central Bank fails to unveil a significant bond-buying plan to prop up the euro zone's struggling economies.
Spain sold 3.5 billion euros ($4.4 billion) of bonds maturing in 2014, 2015 and 2016, raising the top end of a targeted range of between 2.5 billion and 3.5 billion euros.
European shares <.FTEU3> advanced on Thursday to two-week highs.
Ahead of Friday's key U.S. August non-farm payrolls data, the August ADP national employment report is out at 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT), with the latest weekly jobless claims due at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT).
News Corp has cut this year's bonuses for four top executives, including mogul Rupert Murdoch and his son James, after a phone-hacking scandal at the now-closed British newspaper The News of the World, a regulatory filing showed.
General Growth Properties Inc's board is looking to hire an investment bank, a week after activist investor Bill Ackman stepped up pressure on the No. 2 U.S. mall owner to consider putting itself up for sale, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Supervalu Inc said it would close about five dozen stores as it works to turn around its grocery business, which lags Kroger Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc .
Stocks closed a second straight session of thin trading on Wednesday, with investors reluctant to make big bets ahead of the crucial ECB meeting.
S&P 500 futures rose 8 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 68 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 15 points.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)