Stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street on Thursday following a strong rally overnight after the Federal Reserve surprised investors when it said it would buy long-term Treasury bonds for the first time in four decades.
Business software maker Oracle Corp
The news sent Oracle's shares up 7 percent in after-hours trade on Wednesday, and the company's stock traded in Frankfurt
Also on the earnings front, FedEx
On the macro side, investors will keep an eye on weekly jobless claims, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, as well as on the leading indicators and the Philadelphia Fed business index, both due at 10 a.m. EDT.
The Fed announced on Wednesday it would buy up to $300 billion of long term U.S. government debt over the next six months in the first operation on such a scale since the 1960s. It also would expand an existing scheme to buy mortgage-related securities by another $850 billion, to $1.45 trillion this year.
The scale of the intervention is clearly considerable and has prompted a strong rally in treasuries overnight. This is the next step in the process in restoring normality to the credit markets ... it was clearly met with quite a warm reception last night, said Darren Winder, strategist at Cazenove.
On Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 90.88 points, or 1.23 percent, to 7,486.58. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> advanced 16.23 points, or 2.09 percent, to 794.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 29.11 points, or 1.99 percent, to 1,491.22.
The Dow Jones industrial average is down 14.7 percent so far this year, but has risen 15.7 percent since reaching a multi-year low earlier this month, while the S&P 500 is down 12.1 percent year-to-date, but up 19.1 percent since a low hit early March.
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(additional reporting Blaise Robinson; Editing by David Cowell)