Futures gain on Fed support, S&P to test record


7:42 AM EDT, September 18, 2014


NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher in light volume on Thursday, setting up the S&P 500 to test resistance at its record high, a day after the Federal Reserve said interest rates would remain low for a considerable while.

* The Fed renewed on Wednesday its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," a language supportive of equities and other risky assets. It also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than previously forecast when it starts moving, boosting the U.S. dollar.

* Data on monthly housing starts and building permits, as well as weekly applications for unemployment insurance, is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The Philly Fed business index is due at 10:00 a.m.

* Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group's upcoming public offering will give Yahoo billions of dollars for a potential shopping spree that investors hope will jumpstart its comeback. The company will sell some $22 billion of shares in New York, with pricing expected after markets close on Thursday.

* Rite Aid shares were falling 7.8 percent in trading before the opening bell after it lowered its guidance for fiscal 2015.

* Shares of Pier 1 Imports were sliding 10.6 percent in premarket trading a day after the company slashed its full-year earnings forecast.

Futures snapshot at 7:20 a.m. EDT:

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.75 points, or 0.44 percent, with 43,783 contracts changing hands. They came within 0.25 point of the record high set earlier this month.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were gaining 17 points, or 0.42 percent, in volume of 2,528 contracts.

* Dow e-minis were up 62 points, or 0.36 percent, with 4,897 contracts changing hands.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)