The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to a notably higher open on Thursday, with stocks likely to move to the upside as traders continue to digest yesterday’s Federal Reserve announcement.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes amid easing concerns the Fed’s next monetary policy move could actually be an interest rate hike rather than a cut, which Fed Chair Jerome Powell called “unlikely” in his post-meeting press conference.

“A market concern coming into [yesterday’s] FOMC meeting was that the Fed might shift gears to a more hawkish tone, including potential rate hikes, based on recently hotter CPI readings,” said Larry Tentarelli, Chief Technical Strategist, Blue Chip Daily Trend Report.

“Powell seemed to push back on the idea of rate hikes,” he added. “His early commentary today was that the FOMC believes that current rates are restrictive and are weighing on demand. Powell also stated that the Fed believes that ‘policy stance is appropriate to the current situation.’”

The Fed’s next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for June 11-12, with the central bank likely to leave rates unchanged once again.

After turning in a lackluster performance for much of the session, stocks saw substantial volatility following the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement Wednesday afternoon. The major averages initially surged in reaction to the Fed announcement but pulled back going into the close.

The major averages eventually finished the day mixed. While the Dow rose 87.37 points or 0.2 percent to 37,903.29, the Nasdaq fell 52.34 points or 0.3 percent to 15,605.48 and the S&P 500 dipped 17.30 points or 0.3 percent to 5,018.39.

The late-day volatility came after the Federal Reserve announced its widely expected decision to leave interest rates unchanged.

Citing a lack of further progress toward its 2 percent inflation objective in recent months, the Fed said it decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 5.25 to 5.50 percent

Members of the Fed also reiterated they need “greater confidence” inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent before they consider cutting interest rates.

Meanwhile, the Fed said it would continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities but revealed plans to slow the pace of decline.

The central bank said would slow the pace of decline of its securities holdings by reducing the monthly redemption cap on Treasury securities from $60 billion to $25 billion.

The monthly redemption cap on agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities will be maintained at $35 billion, and the Fed will reinvest any principal payments in excess of this cap into Treasury securities.

“In continuation with the wait-and-see policy that has been in place, Chairman Powell is buying some time by diverting attention of this meeting towards the Fed’s balance sheet and focusing on reducing the runoff pace of their Treasury holdings,” said Charlie Ripley, Senior Investment Strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

He added, “Ultimately, today’s policy decision was a well-rounded approach to give the Fed more time to gain confidence in the path of inflation, but we suspect they remain ready to cut knowing that the interest rate curve has remained inverted for the longest period on record.”

On the economic data front, payroll processor ADP released a report showing private sector employment increased by more than expected in the month of April.

ADP said private sector employment shot up by 192,000 jobs in April after jumping by an upwardly revised 208,000 jobs in March.

Economists had expected private sector employment to climb by 175,000 jobs compared to the addition of 184,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management released a separate report showing a modest contraction by U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of April.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI slipped to 49.2 in April from 50.3 in March, with a reading below 50 indicating contraction. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 50.0.

The slight pullback by the index came after it indicated a modest expansion in March following sixteen consecutive months of contraction.

Semiconductor stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, resulting in a 3.5 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) led the sector lower, plunging by 9.0 percent despite reporting slightly better than expected first quarter results. Traders may have been disappointed AMD provided second quarter sales guidance in line with analyst estimates.

Significant weakness was also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 2.0 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

Shares of Super Micro Computer (NASDAQ:SMCI) plummeted by 14.0 percent after the high efficiency server maker reported weaker than expected fiscal third quarter revenues.

Energy stocks also saw considerable weakness amid a steep drop by the price of crude oil, while biotechnology, utilities and telecom stocks showed strong moves to the upside.

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