* Futures up: Dow 4.75 pts, S&P 7.75 pts, Nasdaq 26 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday ahead of the European Central Bank’s decision on monetary policy.
* The ECB is widely expected to cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory and adjust its 1.5 trillion euro asset-buying scheme among other measures to help support growth.
* The central bank’s statement on interest rates is expected at 1245 GMT and ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to hold a conference at 1330 GMT.
* Oil prices slipped about 1 percent as a global oversupply showed little signs of abating and U.S. crude stocks hit record highs.
* Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday, led by gains in the energy sector from higher oil prices. U.S. stocks have largely followed the direction of crude prices this year.
* While economic data from Asia and Europe show faltering growth, a recovery in the U.S. economy has been gathering momentum.
* The Fed has said it is on track to raise interest rates gradually this year, but its decision will depend largely on the economy’s capacity to absorb an increase amid the global economic turmoil.
* Data on Thursday is expected to show U.S. jobless claims slipped by 3,000 to 275,000 last week. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
* Shares of HCP were down 2.5 at $31.50 premarket after Barclays cut its price target on the stock.
* Transocean was down 1.9 percent at $11.17 after the offshore oil rig contractor said it had agreed to defer the delivery of five rigs from Keppel Offshore & Marine until 2020.
Futures snapshot at 6:45 a.m. EDT:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.24 percent, with 130,383 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.75 points, or 0.18 percent, on volume of 19,754 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 26 points, or 0.15 percent, with 20,242 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)