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U.S. futures higher on Bernanke remarks; Dow Jones up 0.86%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday, after comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke eased concerns over a near-term end to the bank's stimulus program.

Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.86% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 1.01% jump, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.92% climb.

Global stocks gained ground after Bernanke said the Fed will continue to maintain accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future, citing low levels of inflation and the high unemployment rate.

The comments came after the minutes of the central bank's June policy meeting showed that Fed policymakers remain divided over when to begin tapering its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program.

Around half of Fed policymakers believe the bank should start to scale back bond purchases by the end of the year, while many others believe the labor market still remains too weak.

Tech stocks were expected to be active, following reports personal-computer shipments dropped for a fifth straight quarter, marking the longest losing streak on record, as consumers continued to favor touch-screen tablets and smartphones for getting online.

Microsoft shares were still up 1.21% in pre-market trade, while Apple gained 0.69%.

Discount chain Family Dollar Stores slid 0.44% in early trading however, after surging over 7% on Wednesday thanks to strong quarterly earnings.

After the closing bell on Wednesday, Yum Brands reported a drop in June sales at restaurants in China, although the decline was not as steep as the month before. Shares were still up 0.88% in extended trading.

Nabors Industries was also likely to be in focus after the owner of the world's largest land-drilling rig fleet, up 0.07% pre-market, warned earlier in the week that its second-quarter operating profit would fall short of market expectations.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 advanced 0.80%, France's CAC 40 climbed 0.71%, Germany's DAX jumped 1.31%, while Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.67%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged 2.55%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.39%.

Later in the day, the U.S. was to release the weekly report on initial jobless claims. - offers an extensive set of professional tools for the Forex, Commodities, Futures and the Stock Market including real-time data streaming, a comprehensive economic calendar, as well as financial news and technical & fundamental analysis by in-house experts.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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