PARIS (Reuters) - Stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 up 0.1 percent, Dow Jones futures up 0.2 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures up 0.1 percent at 5:20 a.m. EDT.
* European stocks were up on Thursday morning, with a number of benchmark indexes hitting their highs for the year, boosted by hopes a U.S. budget deal will be reached before the year-end and that the worst of Europe's debt crisis might be over.
* Investors will keep a close eye on the European Central Bank on Thursday, which is expected to keep interest rates on hold but may offer clues on its policy path for next year with updated forecasts likely to present a grim outlook for the euro zone economy in 2013.
* Chevron Corp
* U.S. securities regulators charged a Wells Fargo
* CME Group Inc
* Starbucks Corp
* Apple Inc's
* Research In Motion
* U.S. tax preparer H&R Block Inc
* On the macro front, investors awaited weekly jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 380,000 new filings compared with 393,000 in the prior week.
* A volatile trading session ended with U.S. stocks mostly higher on Wednesday, even as Apple, the most valuable company in the United States, suffered its worst day of losses in almost four years.
In a strange occurrence, Apple accounted for the entirety of the Nasdaq 100's <.NDX> fall of 1.1 percent, while the Dow industrials - which do not include Apple as a component - enjoyed the best day since November 28.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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