MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Aims For Another Record As Yellen Emboldens Bulls

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Jobless claims drop by 3,000 in latest week

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Stock-index futures point to a slightly higher open for Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow average on track for another record a day after dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen encouraged investors to dive back into the stock market.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12 points, or 0.1%, to 21,496, while those for the S&P 500 index climbed 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,443. Nasdaq-100 Index futures gained 12 points, or 0.2%, to 5,798.

"The risk appetite is back in force after Janet Yellen hinted that the cost of borrowing could increase slower than previously thought at the first day of her semiannual testimony in front of the Congress," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, in a note.

Read:Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12)

On Wednesday, Fed boss Yellen emphasized before the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank's gradual approach to tightening policy and said interest rates don't have to rise all that much further.

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The comments--interpreted as dovish by investors--helped send U.S. stocks higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12), with the Dow average rising 0.6% to set its first closing record in nearly a month. The S&P 500 ended at its second-highest close ever, up 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite rallied 1.1%, leaving it just 1% below all-time closing high set on June 8.

Yellen will testify again on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

In other Fed news on Thursday, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will give speech at the Rocky Mountain Economic Summit in Victor, Idaho, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Fed Gov. Lael Brainard will speak about monetary policy at the NBER summer conference in Cambridge, Mass., at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Economic docket: First-time jobless claims fell by 3,000 in the latest week, reflecting an extremely low level of layoffs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-drop-3000-to-247000-2017-07-13) that has become the norm as an economic recovery stretches into its ninth year.

Separately, producer prices rose 0.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-up-slightly-in-june-but-no-longer-rising-rapidly-ppi-shows-2017-07-13), about even with expectations.

See MarketWatch's Economic Calendar. (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Oil blues: Oil prices took a big step lower on Thursday after the International Energy Agency said global oil supply in June rose by 720,000 barrels a day (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/iea-raises-oil-demand-forecast-says-output-increased-in-june-2017-07-13) to 97.46 million a day, boosted by both higher production from OPEC and non-OPEC producers such as the U.S.

Crude oil dropped 0.9% to $45.08 a barrel, after climbing 1% on Wednesday following upbeat data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-gains-after-upbeat-us-production-data-2017-07-12).

Stock movers: In a rare bit of good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, Target Corp. (TGT) said it now expects a surprise "modest increase" in same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/targets-stock-jumps-after-raising-sales-profit-outlook-2017-07-13) for the fiscal second quarter, citing improved traffic and sales trends.

Shares of Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) rose 0.5% in premarket trade, after surging to a record close on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidias-stock-jumps-to-6th-straight-gain-after-suntrust-upgrade-2017-07-12) on the back of an upgrade at SunTrust.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) reported second-quarter earnings that missed expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/delta-profit-misses-estimates-but-revenue-rises-2017-07-13), although revenue rose.

Snap Inc. (SNAP) surged 3% in premarket trading after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snaps-stock-surges-after-stifel-turns-bullish-as-selloff-as-created-a-compelling-opportunity-2017-07-13), saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.

U.S.-listed shares of Novartis AG(NOVN.EB) advanced 0.2% ahead of the bell after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel late Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve one of its cancer drugs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novartis-gets-fda-panel-recommendation-for-leukemia-drug-approval-2017-07-12).

NRG Energy Inc.(NRG) fell 1.5% premarket after scoring its best-ever one-day percentage performance on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nrg-energys-stock-rockets-to-biggest-ever-one-day-gain-2017-07-12).

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) rose 1.8% in premarket trading after it named Alessandro Bogliolo as its new chief executive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tiffany-names-diesel-head-alessandro-bogliolo-ceo-2017-07-13-6915717), effective Oct. 2.

Other markets: Asian stocks closed mostly higher, while European equities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-rise-again-building-on-largest-advance-in-212-months-2017-07-13) added to their Yellen-fueled gains.

Most metals rose, with gold up 0.1% at $1,220.60 an ounce.

The ICE Dollar Index was flat at 95.770.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 13, 2017 08:52 ET (12:52 GMT)