* Futures up: Dow 55 pts, S&P 6.25 pts, Nasdaq 17 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
May 4 U.S. stock index futures were higher on
Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve left interest rates
unchanged and expressed confidence in the strength of the
* In a bullish statement, the central bank emphasized the
strength of the labor market and said consumer spending
continued to be solid, business investment had firmed and
inflation has been "running close" to its target.
* Futures traders are now pricing in a 72 percent chance of
rate hike in June, up from 63 percent before the Fed issued its
statement, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool.
* Shares of banks, that benefit in a rising rate
environment, were higher in premarket trading. Bank of America
, JPMorgan and Citigroup were up about 0.5
* Sentiment also got a boost after signs that centrist
Emmanuel Macron was heading for victory in France's presidential
election and from another round of strong quarterly reports from
* Earnings of S&P 500 companies have generally come in above
expectations, pushing the benchmark index to within a percent of
its all-time high.
* First-quarter profits at S&P 500 companies are estimated
to have increased 14.2 percent, its strongest growth since 2011,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
* Facebook reported surging quarterly profit and
revenue, but its shares fell 1 percent to $150.21 as investors
showed some nervousness about future earnings.
* Tesla was down 1.6 percent at $306 after the
electric-car maker posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.
* Viacom rose 2.9 percent to $40.40 after the media
company's results came in above expectations.
* Dunkin' Brands fell 1.5 percent to $55.50 after
it said sales at Dunkin' Donuts U.S. stores were flat.
* Square rose 4.5 percent to $19.10 as the payments
company raised its earnings forecast.
* Economic data due Thursday includes a report that is
likely to show trade balance deficit widened in March, compared
with February. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT).
* Another report is expected to show 10,000 fewer Americans
filed for unemployment benefits last week than the week before.
Futures snapshot at 6:58 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 55 points, or 0.26 percent,
with 14,303 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.25 points, or 0.26
percent, with 82,323 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 17 points, or 0.3
percent, on volume of 16,997 contracts.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Savio D'Souza)