MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Set To Open Higher After Fed Gives Thumbs-up On Economy

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

European rally helps sentiment, but Facebook, Tesla fall premarket

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher open for Wall Street on Thursday, a day after a Federal Reserve statement that signaled confidence in the American economy, but some weak results from technology companies limited the market's advance.

S&P 500 futures rose by 6.8 points, or 0.3%, to 2,390, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 60 points, or 0.3%, to 20,939. Nasdaq-100 futures tacked on 19.75 points, or 0.4%, to 5,633.

The Fed statement, released on Wednesday two hours before the market's close, said the central bank's policy panel "views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory," deploying unusually dismissive language (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-holds-interest-rates-steady-dismisses-first-quarter-slump-as-transitory-2017-05-03). The Fed also left interest rates unchanged, as had been widely expected.

Equities were also supported by an apparent easing of geopolitical tensions abroad, with European stocks higher after markets-friendly French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/emmanuel-macron-5-things-to-know-about-the-man-poised-to-be-frances-president-2017-04-24) weathered a televised debate Wednesday night and appeared to remain on track to win in Sunday's runoff election against euroskeptic Marine Le Pen.

See:Brace for market mayhem if Le Pen unexpectedly wins French presidency (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brace-for-market-mayhem-if-le-pen-unexpectedly-wins-french-presidency-2017-05-04)

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Europe's main stock benchmark was on track for its highest close since August 2015 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-flirt-with-almost-21-month-high-after-earnings-deluge-2017-05-04), getting a lift from well-received earnings and Macron's debate performance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/macron-le-pen-square-off-in-debate-ahead-of-sundays-french-election-2017-05-03).

"Macron was considered to have outperformed Marine Le Pen in the final presidential debate in France last night. This has helped to boost equity markets in Europe," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, in a note.

A rally in U.S. stocks on April 24 was attributed in part to Macron's strong showing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-poised-to-rally-as-investors-breathe-sigh-of-relief-over-french-vote-2017-04-24) in the first round of France's presidential election.

Economic news: In the latest economic data, first-time jobless claims fell sharply in the latest week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-fall-sharply-in-latest-week-2017-05-04), dropping a larger-than-expected 19,000 in the latest sign of strength in the labor market. Separately, U.S. productivity fell 0.6% in the first quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-productivity-slumps-in-first-quarter-2017-05-04); analysts had forecast no change.

At 10 a.m. Eastern, a release on March factory orders is expected to show 0.5% growth.

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There are no Fed officials scheduled to speak today.

Individual movers: Limiting the broader market's advance was Facebook Inc.(FB) which fell 0.3% in premarket action Thursday, after being choppy in after-hours action Wednesday as the social-media giant reported its quarterly earnings.

Facebook posted (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-shares-rise-after-first-quarter-revenue-beat-2017-05-03) better-than-expected earnings based on generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, as well as revenue that topped forecasts.

See:Facebook follows Google in recognizing earnings reality (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/facebook-follows-google-in-recognizing-earnings-reality-2017-05-03)

Tesla Inc.(TSLA) lost 1.5% premarket after the maker of electric cars late Wednesday revealed a wider-than-expected adjusted loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-shares-higher-after-wider-loss-revenue-beat-2017-05-03) but quarterly revenue beat forecasts.

Read: Elon Musk says robot software will make Tesla worth as much as Apple (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/elon-musk-robot-software-will-make-tesla-worth-as-much-as-apple-2017-05-04)

Dunkin' Brands Group Inc.(DNKN) dropped 1.5% ahead of the open after the doughnuts seller posted (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dunkin-brands-falls-15-premarket-after-revenue-miss-2017-05-04) a larger-than-expected rise in adjusted profit, but weaker-than-anticipated revenue.

Avon Products Inc.(AVP) reported a surprise loss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/avon-products-reports-surprise-loss-while-sales-rise-as-expected-2017-05-04), while sales rose as expected. The stock was inactive in premarket trade.

Other markets:Gold futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-tumbles-1-after-fed-signals-confidence-in-the-us-economy-2017-05-04) tumbled 1% and were on pace for their lowest settlement since mid-March, and oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-pull-back-as-latest-us-supply-data-triggers-fresh-concerns-2017-05-04) traded lower.

See:Why now may be a good time to buy gold and silver (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-now-may-be-a-good-time-to-buy-gold-and-silver-2017-05-03)

And read:Gold investment demand falls 34%, but WGC says it was still 'robust' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-investment-demand-falls-34-but-wgc-says-it-was-still-robust-2017-05-04)

Asian markets finished mostly with losses, though Korea's benchmark scored a record close (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/record-high-for-korean-stocks-as-other-asian-markets-slip-2017-05-03). A key dollar index edged down.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 09:10 ET (13:10 GMT)