Thursday September 22nd


US stocks look to continue rally as Street digests Fed decision; data eyed

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday as traders eyed data releases and continued to digest the decision of the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged. "The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives," the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement on Wednesday. U.S. equities rallied on Wednesday after the Fed's announcement, with the three major indexes closing about 1 percent higher. On the data front, initial jobless claims fell 8,000 to 252,000. The FHFA home price index is set to come out at 9 a.m. Leading indicators and existing home sales are due at 10 a.m. In oil markets, Brent crude traded at $47.41 a barrel on Thursday, up 1.73 percent, while U.S. crude was at $46.30 a barrel, up 2.12 percent. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx-600 index was 1.53 percent higher on Thursday. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed 0.56 percent higher. Japan's Nikkei was closed on Thursday for a public holiday. Gold is highly exposed to interest rates, particularly in the United States, as higher rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets and boost the dollar, in which gold is priced. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,333.66 an ounce by 7:34 ET, while U.S. gold futures rose 0.5 percent to $1,337.50 an ounce.