U.S. stock futures are pointing higher in pre-market trading for Thursday, September 22. The Dow Futures are at 18270.0 for a gain of 52.00 points. The S&P 500 Futures are at 2161.75 for a gain of 5.50 points. The Nasdaq Futures are at 4864.75 for a gain of 14.75 points. The Russell Futures are at 1246.2 for a gain of 4.00 points.

In overnight trading in the Eastern Hemisphere, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is at 16807.62 for a gain of 315.47 points or 1.91 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 23759.80 for a gain of 89.90 points or 0.38 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite is at 3042.31 for a gain of 16.44 points or 0.54 percent. India’s S&P BSE Sensex is at 28773.13 for a gain of 265.71 points or 0.93 percent. In Europe, the FTSE 100 is at 6923.48 for a gain of 88.71 points or 1.30 percent. Germany’s DAX is at 10633.17 for a gain of 196.68 points or 1.88 percent. France’s CAC 40 is at 4497.37 for a gain of 87.82 points or 1.99 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 is at 347.21 for a gain of 4.75 points or 1.39 percent.

**Thursday’s Factors and Events**

U.S. stock market futures are pointing higher in trading for Thursday after both the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve announced no major changes to their monetary policy actions. Both regulators will keep their borrowing rates unchanged. However, the Bank of Japan will institute a new framework for bond buying, using its allocated 80 trillion yen to stabilize the 10-year government bond at 0%.

With the central bank announcements out of the way, investors have a better idea of what to expect in the near term and will turn their focus to the U.S. economy’s indicators for growth. On the economic calendar for Thursday are the following reports: Jobless Claims, Chicago Fed National Activity Index, FHFA House Price Index, Existing Home Sales, Leading Indicators, the Fed Balance Sheet and the Money Supply.

In the pre-market the following stocks are trading actively:

Equity Residential

Marriott International

Vertex Pharmaceutical

Kroger

Carnival Corp

Harley-Davidson Inc

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Newmont Mining

Apache Corp

Juniper Networks Inc

**Wednesday’s Activity**

U.S. market indexes gained on Wednesday. For the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18293.70 for a gain of 163.74 points or 0.90 percent. The S&P 500 was also higher, closing at 2163.12 for a gain of 23.36 points or 1.09 percent. The Nasdaq Composite closed higher at 5295.18 for a gain of 53.83 points or 1.03 percent.

Source: DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite. Google Finance.

Other notable index closes included the small-cap Russell 2000 Index at 1245.04 for a gain of 16.71 points or 1.36 percent; the S&P 600 Small-Cap Index at 753.13 for a gain of 10.77 points or 1.45 percent; the S&P 400 Mid-Cap Index at 1544.67 for a gain of 19.32 points or 1.27 percent; the S&P 100 Index at 957.25 for a gain of 8.48 points or 0.89 percent; the Russell 3000 Index at 1280.85 for a gain of 14.17 points or 1.12 percent; the Russell 1000 Index at 1198.97 for a gain of 13.03 points or 1.10 percent; and the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index at 617.78 for a gain of 10.41 points or 1.70 percent.