US STOCKS-Futures jump as worries ease over early stimulus pullback

Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:08am EDT
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* Costco June sales top expectations

* Initial claims, import-export prices due

* Bernanke comments cool stimulus-slowing ideas

* Futures up: Dow 149 pts, S&P 18.7 pts, Nasdaq 31.25 pts

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures climbed on Thursday, after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the central bank was unlikely to scale back its stimulus measures earlier than expected.

Bernanke, at an economic conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday, said a highly accommodative monetary policy was needed for the foreseeable future, and that the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.6 percent overstated the health of the job market.

On May 22, the S&P 500 fell as much as 5.8 percent following comments from Bernanke which raised the prospect of an earlier-than-expected move by the central bank to scale back its bond buying program.

"(Fed policymakers) don't have any more clarity about what it going to happen in the future than any other human being on earth, but they do have clarity as to their actions," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.   Continued...