US stock-index futures add to gains after claims

U.S. stock-index futures signaled a higher open on Thursday amid earnings from Wall Street’s biggest tech firms, after the Federal Reserve stuck with its to its vow to be “patient” on hiking rates.Stock futures added to their gains after the government reported 265,000 Americans filed for jobless benefits last week, better than the projected 301,000. Alibaba (BABA) shares fell sharply in pre-market trading after posting quarterly earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, but revenue fell short of estimates.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $ 4.22 billion in the December quarter, missing the average analyst estimate of $ 4.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Ford’s quarterly earnings beat Wall Street earnings expectations and the automaker maintained its 2015 profit forecast. Net income was $ 52 million, down from $ 3.07 billion a year earlier, when results were boosted substantially by a one-off $ 2.1 billion special tax item. Ford shares rose in early bids before market open. (AMZN), Google (GOOGL), Samsung Electronics (Korea Stock Exchange: 83-KR), Visa (NYSE:V) are all due after the bell. U.S. crude settled down $ 1.78 at $ 44.45, its lowest since March 2009 on Wednesday, and showed further losses on Thursday. Brent crude oil for March delivery was trading at $ 48.47 a barrel.

Read More Markethurdles: Strong dollar, weak global economy On Wednesday evening, the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement was little changed from December, maintaining its judgement that it will be “patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy”.

At the same time, the Fed raised its view of the U.S. economy and labor market, even as the central bank said it anticipates inflation to fall further in the near term. The Fed also added “international developments” to its list of factors that will determine the timing of the first rate hike.

European equities were in negative territory on Thursday as oil prices, Greek elections and a slightly hawkish tone from the U.S. Federal Reserve hit investor sentiment. Investors on Thursday will also watch for developments in the growing tension between the new left-wing Greek government and European officials. Greek shares stabilized on Thursday after banking stocks fell 26 percent the day before. Greek 10-year government bond yields spiked beyond 11 percent Thursday.

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