* Brent crude climbs over $63 a barrel
* Initial claims data on tap
* Oracle up in premarket after results
* Futures up: Dow 182 pts, S&P 22 pts, Nasdaq 53 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures surged on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track to extend gains from the prior session, as oil prices showed hints of stabilizing and ahead of data on the labor market.
* The benchmark S&P 500 index notched its best day since October 2013 after the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy and said it would take a patient approach toward raising interest rates, while the energy sector jumped more than 4 percent.
* Oil prices rose, boosting a rebound off five-year lows, with Brent crude climbing as high as $63.70 and WTI crude up more than 2 percent. Exxon Mobil rose 2 percent to $90.84 and the Select Sector Energy ETF gained 1.6 percent to $78.34 in premarket trading.
* Investors will eye weekly initial jobless claims data due out at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) for signs of strengthen in the labor market. Expectations are for claims to have increased by 1,000 from the prior week to 295,000.
* Data expected later in the session includes the preliminary services sector Purchasing Managers Index from Markit at 9:45 a.m. (1445 GMT). At 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s manufacturing survey and the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index are due.
* Oracle Corp gained 5.3 percent to $43.34 before the opening bell after reporting quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations.
* Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc said it will buy U.S. convenience store chain The Pantry Inc for $1.7 billion, including debt. Pantry shares were halted in premarket trading.
* European stocks and Asian stocks rallied, tracking Wall Street’s climb after the Fed statement.
Futures snapshot at 7:16 a.m. EST (1216 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 22 points, or 1.08 percent, with 65,656 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 53 points, or 1.27 percent, in volume of 6,225 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 182 points, or 1.05 percent, with 5,857 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)