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RTRS: Futures fall as Fed gives no clarity on next rate hike
 
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stock index futures fell on Thursday after the Federal Reserve gave little insight into whether it would raise interest rates at its next meeting, even as the central bank painted an upbeat picture of the economy.

* The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but gave no firm signal of a hike in March, as it awaits more clarity on President Donald Trump's fiscal policies, adding another layer to the uncertainty triggered by his recent comments and decisions.

* The dollar dropped to a near 12-week low of 99.23 against a basket of major currencies. The greenback has been beaten down by Trump's comments on its strength and concerns over his protectionist policies.

* Investors are also closely watching comments from the U.S. administration that could cause short-term volatility in the market.

* Wall Street was lifted by a spike in Apple (AAPL.O) after the company reported strong results, but the S&P 500 and the Dow pared most of their gains at the close due to losses in energy and utilities.

* A clutch of earnings including Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Visa (V.N) and Amgen (AMGN.O) will keep investors busy on Thursday.

* Initial jobless claims is expected to have slipped by 9,000 to 250,000 last week. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT) and comes ahead of a closely watched monthly hiring data on Friday.

* Among stocks, Facebook (FB.O) edged up 1.4 percent to $135.03 in heavy premarket trading following the company's strong quarterly earnings and revenue.

* Shutterfly (SFLY.O) dropped nearly 20 percent to $41.50 after the digital imaging company reported a 30.6 percent decline in quarterly profit.

* Mead Johnson (MJN.N) jumped 25 percent to $87 after Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) said it was in advanced talks to buy the baby formula maker for $16.7 billion.

Source