REUTERS - U.S. stocks were set to open higher on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, signaling confidence in the strength of the world’s largest economy.
The central bank raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to between 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent, ending months of uncertainty.
Global markets jumped on Thursday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen assured that further tightening would be gradual and heavily dependent on inflation, which remained firmly below the central bank’s 2 percent target.
“The Fed really delivered exactly what the market wanted,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta, Georgia.
“As far as today, we are seeing some follow through from all that positive (reaction),” Lerner said.
At 8:32 a.m. ET (1332 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 40 points, or 0.23 percent, with 28,617 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.5 points, or 0.17 percent, with 230,264 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 19 points, or 0.41 percent, on volume of 28,205 contracts.
Investors will now keep a weather eye on data to gauge the economy’s capacity to withstand higher rates.
Data showed jobless claims fell to 271,000 last week, below 275,000 estimated, while third-quarter current account deficit expanded to $124.1 billion, the largest shortfall since the fourth quarter of 2008.
Pandora shares were up 18.9 percent at $15.95 after the media-streaming company said new music royalty rates were “balanced”.
Fedex was up 5.5 percent at $157 after it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Avon was up 24.7 percent at $5.10 after the company said it would sell 80 percent of its North America business for $170 million.
KaloBios more than halved to $11.03 after its chief executive Martin Shkreli was arrested by the FBI over charges of securities fraud.
Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar and Aastha Agnihotri in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva