US Futures Gain as Markets Wait For ECB to Announce Bond Buying Program; Weekly Jobless Data on Tap

U.S. stock futures were higher Thursday as markets were widely expecting the European Central Bank to announce a bond-buying program of about 50 billion euros ($ 58 billion) a month.

In economic data out Thursday, weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. E.T. are expected to have edged lower to 300,000 in the week to Jan. 17, from 316,000 the preceding week. The consensus range is for claims between 289,000 and 305,000, according to data collected by Econoday.

At 9:00 a.m., the FHFA house price index is expected to have risen 0.3% for November compared to a 0.6% monthly gain in October. The consensus range is for an increase between 0.2% and 0.6%.

In equities, BlackBerry ( BBRY ) rose again, by 4.2%, on continued speculation that Samsung might still be interest in buying the company. Both companies denied talks last week.

Among reporting companies, Verizon Communications ( VZ ) fell 0.6% after swinging to a Q4 loss although its adjusted profit matched the Street’s view. The company’s guidance for 2015 revenue was slightly shy of analysts’ estimates. Land’s End ( LE ) fell 22.8% as it said Q4 EPC could drop as much as 26% from a year ago, missing estimates.

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