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

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Jobless claims are on deck ahead of the open

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U.S. stocks were set for a higher open Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow average on track for another record after dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen encouraged investors to dive back into the stock market.

Future for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23 points, or 0.1%, to 21,506, while those for the S&P 500 index climbed 4.4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,444.50. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 Index gained 21 points, or 0.4%, to 5,806.75.

"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 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: Weekly jobless claims are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern and economists polled by MarketWatch expect 245,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

The producer-price index for June is also out at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Federal budget for June at 2 p.m.

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: 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.

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).

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 06:07 ET (10:07 GMT)