Stock index futures rose on Thursday, adding to gains from the previous session when the Federal Reserve boosted equities by saying it was likely to keep interest rates near zero until at least late 2014.
The Fed's statement boosted stocks and commodities globally. The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares rose nearly 1 percent, crude oil futures gained and copper advanced for a second day.
The Fed is trying to get everybody into risk assets. They are trying to push assets higher to reestablish the wealth effect and offset the wealth decline that is taking place in housing, said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.
The Fed's move comes at a busy period during U.S. earnings season. So far 57 percent of companies have beat analysts' forecasts compared to 70 percent in past quarters at a comparable stage in the earnings season.
Shares of Caterpillar Inc
S&P 500 futures rose 4.5 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up 42 points, and Nasdaq futures rose 4.25 points.
Greece was still a wildcard for markets as its leaders resumed tortuous negotiations on a debt swap with private creditors in Athens on Thursday. All eyes on the European Central Bank after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said public-sector holders of Greek debt may also need to take losses.
The S&P 500 is up more than 23 percent from lows in October as investors welcome signs that the U.S. economy is improving and credit conditions in Europe are easing after the bloc's central bank moved to boost liquidity in the financial system.
Mendelsohn said that the S&P 500 is facing a critical technical resistance level at around 1,330, which brings the index up against a four-year downtrend line from its all-time highs in 2007. You take that out, and we're off to the races, he said.
U.S. initial jobless claims are expected to rise to 370,000 from 352,000 the week before, mostly from the smaller seasonal factor in the week ended January 21, when claims sunk to a nearly 4-year low. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. EST.
Other data due at 8:30 a.m. include December durable goods orders. The U.S. transportation sector could be a modest drag on
the data, which is expected to ease to a 2.0 percent gain from 3.7 percent the month before, according to a Reuters poll of 69 economists.
(Reporting By Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)