Wall Street to open higher, futures recover after explosion scare

By Sruthi Shankar, Rama Venkat RamanWall StreetReuters

NYPD confirms explosion near Times Square

FBN's Maria Bartiromo and Dagen McDowell on the NYPD investigation into reports of an explosion at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Dec 11 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set to open higher on Monday, recovering from a brief pullback in stock futures after reports of an explosion in New York's busy Port Authority commuter hub.

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Police confirmed one person is in custody but were not yet identifying the device used. Local news channel WABC cited police sources as saying a possible pipe bomb detonated in a passageway below ground at Port Authority.

"When you see one of these events in a major city, you get a little cautious tone. But it's never enough to really rout a stock market intraday," said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

The CBOE Volatility index, a widely followed measure of market anxiety, briefly rose above 10 points.

At 9:02 a.m. ET (1402 GMT), Dow e-minis were up 41 points, or 0.17 percent, with 17,818 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.07 percent, with 255,483 contracts traded.

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Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 7.5 points, or 0.12 percent, on volume of 20,687 contracts.

Interest in the surge in bitcoin and opening of futures trading continued to fuel bets on crypotcurrency related stocks, many of which have risen exponentially in value in the past three months.

Shares of Marathon Patent, Riot Blockchain , Overstock.com and Xunei were up between 4.31 percent and 17 percent in premarket trading.

Bitcoin futures jumped more than 20 percent in the U.S. debut on Sunday, which backers hope will encourage wider use and give legitimacy to cryptocurrency.

"We've got the Fed meeting on Tuesday where it's pretty much factored in that the Fed is going to be raising rates. The concern is what they are going to say about going forward," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, buoyed by a solid payrolls report for November that locked in expectations for an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this week.

The report showed the economy added 228,000 jobs in November but average hourly earnings failed to meet expectations.

The third rate hike in 2017 is near certain, with traders betting a 90 percent chance in its favor, according to CME Group's Fedwatch tool.

However, a sluggish growth that the latest jobs report showed could raise doubts about the central bank's plan to raise interest rates thrice in 2018.

Bluebird Bio shares rose about 25 percent after its experimental gene-modifying immunotherapy drug co-developed with Celgene received positive responses in early stage study. Celgene was up 3.4 percent.

Xerox shares inched up 1.32 percent after activist investor Carl Icahn named four nominees to the company's board after a current Icahn-appointed director resigned due to a difference of opinion with the board.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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