LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, prompted by
investors seen hunting for bargains after a steep sell-off in
the previous session on concerns about a looming fiscal crisis.
* Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and
the Nasdaq 100 were 0.2 to 0.3 percent higher, a day
after U.S. stocks fell more than 2 percent.
* The Labor Department releases first-time claims for
jobless benefits for the week ended Nov. 3. Economists forecast
a total of 370,000 new filings, compared with 363,000 in the
* KKR & Co L.P. and Australia's Allegro Funds have
agreed to buy around A$350 million ($364 million) worth of
distressed commercial loans from a unit of Lloyds Banking Group
Plc, a source familiar with the matter said on
* Shares in Whole Foods Market were down 4.1
percent, while Concur Technologies fell 6.1 percent
after the bell on Wednesday after the companies announced their
results. Companies announcing results on Thursday included Walt
Disney and Duke Energy.
* The Commerce Department releases September International
Trade figures at 1330 GMT. Economists expect a trade deficit of
$45.0 billion, versus a $44.22 billion deficit in August.
* The European Central Bank is expected to leave interest
rates on hold on Thursday, waiting instead to show its mettle
with a new bond-purchase programme that is ready for use as soon
as Spain asks for help. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a
news conference at 1330 GMT.
* The Bank of England is likely to leave interest rates
unchanged at 0.5 percent and to leave its quantitative easing
target at 375 billion pounds.
* Greece's government voted by a razor thin margin on
Thursday to approve an austerity package needed to unlock vital
aid and avert bankruptcy, despite an internal rift and violent
protests at the gates of parliament.
* European shares rose 0.3 percent after reassuring
earnings from major companies including Siemens and
Swiss Re. Japan's Nikkei average fell 1.5
* The Dow industrials lost more than 300 points in a
sell-off on Wednesday that drove all major U.S. stock indexes
down over 2 percent in the wake of the presidential election as
investors' focus shifted to the looming "fiscal cliff" debate
and Europe's economic troubles.
* The Dow Jones industrial average slid 312.95
points, or 2.36 percent, to close at 12,932.73. The Standard &
Poor's 500 Index fell 33.86 points, or 2.37 percent, to
1,394.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 74.64 points,
or 2.48 percent, to close at 2,937.29.