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U.S. stock-index futures rallied on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank will continue its easy-money policies for the 'foreseeable future.'

Today's Markets

As of 8:39 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 120 points to 15364, S&P 500 futures rallied 15.5 points to 1664 and Nasdaq 100 futures leapt 26 points to 3022.

The broad S&P 500 narrowly extended its winning streak to five days on Wednesday. Sentiment among world trading desks got a boost late Wednesday after Bernanke suggested the U.S. economy will be in need of aggressive monetary accommodation from the central bank for a long time to come. 

"Thoughts of tapering have been banished to the outer darkness this morning, as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke seemed to come down firmly on the side of additional stimulus in his speech last night," Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG said in a note to clients. 

The speech ricocheted through many financial markets. The dollar recently sold off by more than 1% against a basket of world currencies that are tracked by the dollar index. That move helped gold prices zoom higher by $34.90, or 2.8%, to $1,282 a troy ounce. Traders also bid up U.S. Treasury bonds after a heavy selloff last week. The benchmark 10-year yield fell 0.043-percentage point to 2.571%. 

Oil prices fell just slightly, with the benchmark U.S. contract recently dipping 57 cents, or 0.53%, to $105.97 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slumped 0.8% to $2.99 a gallon. 

There are two significant economic reports out at 8:30 a.m. ET. 

The number of individuals applying for first-time jobs benefits rose to 360,000 last week from an upwardly revised 344,000 the week prior, according to the Labor Department. Economists expected claims to fall to 340,000 from a initially reported 343,000. Data focusing on the labor market have been a major focus on Wall Street of late, as the Fed has said it will keep easing until there is substantial improvement on the jobs front. 

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reports U.S. import prices fell 0.2% in June from the month prior, compared to expectations they would hold steady. Meanwhile, export prices slipped 0.1%, matching expectations.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 0.9% to 2684, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.66% to 6548 and the German DAX rallied 1.1% to 8155. 

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 edged up 0.39% to 14473 and the Chinese Hang Seng surged 2.6% to 21437.

 

Follow Adam Samson on Twitter @adamsamson.