US futures signal mixed open on Yellen’s dovish tone

US futures signal mixed open on Yellen’s dovish tone

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wall Street on Thursday following dovish remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who is set to become the central bank’s next chairman.

Ahead of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday at 10 a.m. New York time, Yellen released a statement after Wednesday’s U.S. market close on the outlook for the U.S.economy.

She said the Federal Reserve needs to do more work to support the economic recovery before it can return to “a more normal approach” to monetary policy, echoing the sentiment of Chairman Ben Bernanke.

While she noted that the U.S. economy has made progress, she also voiced her concern over the unemployment rate being too high at 7.3 percent and said inflation remained below the Fed’s 2 percent target.

The remarks caused Asian and European equity markets to rally on Thursday as investors cheered the pro-stimulus remarks from Yellen, who is set to replace Ben Bernanke in January.

The euro fell against the dollar after data from the euro zone on Thursday showed that the 17-strong bloc’s economy grew by just 0.1 percent in the third quarter of 2013, marking a slowdown from an expansion of 0.3 percent in the second quarter. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast that the euro zone would report growth of 0.2 percent in the third quarter.

Investors in the U.S. will also be keeping an eye on data releases on Thursday including international trade figures, jobless claims and productivity and costs. Natural gas and oil inventories are also reported. A 30-year bond auction will also be held.

Cisco’s shares were sharply lower after the company said sales in the current quarter will drop by as much as 10 percent. Shares of retailer Kohl’s also tumbled after its earnings missed analysts’ estimates and it said its same-store sales fell 1.6 percent.

Other earnings out before the bell include Wal-Mart, Helmerich & Payne, Tyco, Viacom, Vivendi, Companies reporting after the bell include Agilent, Applied Materials and Nordstrom.

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