U.S. stock-index futures rose on Thursday as the the European Central Bank left benchmark interest rates unchanged and ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank would make monthly bond purchases of $ 70 billion.
The expanded asset purchases begin in March, and run through September of next year, Draghi said.
Dow futures jumped more than 160 points right after the ECB announcement, and were lately up 98 points.
“It was telegraphed for so long that they were going to do something in terms of QE. Investors are skeptical about how effective QE is anyway. Our economy is doing better, but that’s because of the energy situation here; we own it,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird, said.
Stock futures had retained solid gains after U.S. data had 307,000 Americans filing for jobless benefits last week, down 10,000.
“A liberalization of labor laws, an easing of restrictive regulations and lower tax rates are the only answers to what ails the euro zone,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, emailed.
Verizon Communications (VZ) edged lower in early New York trading after the telecom reported quarterly earnings in line with estimates. American Express (AXP) fell, a day after the credit-card company said it would cut more than 4,000 jobs this year, and eBay (EBAY) climbed a day after the online auctioneer said it was exploring a sale or public offering of its enterprise unit.
Read More Early movers: VZ, EBAY, TRV, KEY, JCI, GOOG & more
After rising above $ 49 a barrel early Thursday, the price of U.S. crude (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL15H) turned lower, falling 36 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $ 47.42 a barrel and gold futures (CEC:Commodities Exchange Centre: @GC15G) rose $ 6.40, or 0.5 percent, to $ 1,300.10 an ounce.
“Perhaps the worst in energy is behind us,” Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG, wrote in emailed commentary, noting the sector has risen 5.2 percent in the last three sessions, and led Wall Street gains on Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar (Exchange:.DXY) declined against other global currencies, including the euro, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note (U.S.:US10Y) rose 2 basis points to 1.890 percent.
Published reports Wednesday quoted sources in saying the ECB could unveil a 50 billion euro ($ 58 billion) a month quantitative easing plan for at least a year, topping forecasts.
Read More Markets primed for ECB debt-buying splurge
Thursday also brings the FHFA house price index for November at 09:00 a.m. Eastern, which is expected to see monthly price growth fall back to 0.3 percent month on month, following October’s robust rise of 0.6 percent month on month.
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The World Economic Forum is well under way, with heads of state and government as well as global business leaders mingling in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang addressed delegates Wednesday on the state of the Chinese economy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to speak Thursday, after ECB President Mario Draghi makes his announcement.
European stocks traded flat in morning trade ahead of the ECB meeting.
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