Stock Futures Rise on Bernanke's Reassurances
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were gaining ground Thursday, pointing to a higher open after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke managed to calm fears about a dramatic slowdown in central bank accommodation. Investors are also reacting to Japan's central bank becoming more bullish about its economy and hopes of stimulus from China's central bank. Economic releases before the market open indicated a rise in unemployment claims as well as a drop in import prices.
Futures for the S&P 500 were adding 16 points, or 17.63 points above fair value, to 1,664.5. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 123 points, or 145.34 points above fair value, to 15,366. Futures for the Nasdaq were increasing 27.5 points, or 29.39 points above fair value, to 3,023.75.
Warehouse retailer Costco
Drug store operator Walgreen
Major U.S. stock markets closed mixed on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve's June meeting indicated that several policymakers were warming to the plan of reducing the central bank's asset purchase program.
However, the minutes were followed after the closing bell by a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who reassured markets that accommodative monetary policy would remain in place for some time regardless of any substantial drop in the unemployment rate. Bernanke emphasized there were no firm plans yet for any imminent hike in interest rates.
"There will not be an automatic increase in interest rate when unemployment hits 6.5%," Bernanke told economists after a speech in Boston.
He also said that with the low inflation environment and the job market still in need of more improvement, it will likely be "well sometime after we hit 6.5% before rates reach any significant level."