May 25, 2017 / 11:39 AM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures up as Fed minutes show economic growth to pick up

3 Min Read

* Futures up: Dow 75 pts, S&P 7.25 pts, Nasdaq 21.5 pts

By Tanya Agrawal

May 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday after minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed policymakers expected the economy to pick up momentum and that they would raise interest rates soon.

* But, policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising rates until it was clear a recent slowdown in the U.S. economy was temporary.

* Federal funds futures imply traders see an 83 percent chance of a rate hike in June, unchanged from before the minutes, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.

* The central bank also proposed a plan to wind down its $4.5 trillion of debt securities, including a limit on how much would be allowed to fall off the balance sheet each month.

* While recent economic data has been mixed, with signs of a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, the job market continues to strengthen.

* Following the minutes, the S&P 500 closed at a record high on Wednesday. The S&P and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched gains for a fifth straight day.

* With the Fed now keeping an eye on economic growth, every data set will be more closely scrutinized. The first report is on jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), and is expected to show claims rose to 238,000 last week from 232,000.

* Oil prices fell about 1.5 percent after an OPEC delegate said the group had decided to extend production cuts for nine months, which traders say have already been baked into prices, and not longer as many investors were hoping for.

* Oil majors Chevron and Exxon were down about 0.2 percent in premarket trading.

* HP Inc rose 4.8 percent to $19.92 after the company's quarterly results beat expectations.

* Sears jumped 8.4 percent to $8.10 after the retailer reported its first quarterly profit in nearly two years, while Best Buy rose nearly 11 percent after issuing its quarterly results.

* PVH Corp was up 6 percent at $108.06 after the owner of Tommy Hilfiger posted a better-than-expected profit and raised its full-year forecast.

Futures snapshot at 6:54 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 75 points, or 0.36 percent, with 27,362 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.3 percent, with 151,932 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 21.5 points, or 0.38 percent, on volume of 32,582 contracts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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