* Weekly jobless claims due at 1330 GMT
* Markets await ECB press conference
* Futures up: Dow 16 pts, S&P 2 pts, Nasdaq 7.5 pts
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures ticked up on Thursday, with the Dow industrials nearing the 18,000 mark, ahead of news from the European Central Bank on whether it will further ease monetary policy.
* With eyes on Friday's payrolls report, traders await data on weekly U.S. jobless claims due at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT).
* At the same time, ECB chief Mario Draghi will address the press after a policy meeting. The ECB meets under growing pressure to take dramatic action to prevent the bloc's economies from going into recession.
* Shares of pet drug developer Kindred Biosciences fell 25 percent in premarket trading after it said it would stop developing its experimental atopic dermatitis drug for dogs due to "the rapid uptake and success" of a rival product. Dechra Pharmaceuticals recently launched its own treatment for the condition in Britain.
* Workers in various industries are expected to stage strikes and walkouts throughout the United States to advocate for a $15 per hour minimum wage and other labor rights. Workers include some at fast-food restaurants like McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, and major airports like JFK in New York City.
* The Dow and S&P 500 ended at records on Wednesday as data showed the U.S. services sector continued to expand, boosting cyclical stocks.
Futures snapshot at 7:43 a.m. EST (1243 GMT):
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.08 percent, with 80,080 contracts changing hands.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.17 percent, in volume of 10,619 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 16 points, or 0.09 percent, with 16,343 contracts changing hands. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)