* Jobless claims, GDP, home sales data on tap
* Italian 10-yr yield at lowest in two years
* Tiffany shares slide premarket after results
* Futures up: Dow 78 pts, S&P 8.6 pts, Nasdaq 19.5 pts
NEW YORK, Nov 29 U.S. stock index futures
advanced on Thursday, building on the previous session's steep
gains, on expectations of progress toward reaching a fiscal
agreement in Washington.
* Markets will continue to focus on discussions in Congress
to avoid big spending cuts and tax hikes - dubbed the "fiscal
cliff" - and equities may retreat, as they did Tuesday, if the
upbeat negotiation environment in Washington shifts.
* Investors await data, including the second estimate of
third-quarter gross domestic product, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330
GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 2.8 percent
annualized pace of growth, compared with a 2.0 percent rate in
the first estimate.
* The Commerce Department will issue preliminary corporate
profits for the third quarter at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT). At the
same time, the Labor Department will release first-time claims
for jobless benefits; 390,000 new filings are forecast, compared
with 410,000 in the prior week.
* The yield on Italy's 10-year bonds fell to the lowest in
two years at an auction, amid relief that immediate risks over
Greece had diminished.
* S&P 500 futures rose 8.6 points and were above fair
value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account
interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the
contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 78
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 19.5 points.
* Also due for release Thursday are pending home sales for
October at 10:00 a.m. (1500 GMT) and the Federal Reserve Bank of
Kansas City November manufacturing survey at 11:00 a.m. (1600
* Tiffany shares tumbled more than 12 percent in
premarket trading after the upscale jeweler reported quarterly
results and lowered its full-year sales and profit forecasts.
* Kroger, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator, is
also due to report third-quarter earnings.
* On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose
106.98 points, or 0.83 percent, to 12,985.11. The S&P 500
gained 10.99 points, or 0.79 percent, to 1,409.93. The Nasdaq
Composite added 23.99 points, or 0.81 percent, to close