Stocks eased early Friday as traders took profits after a rousing rally sparked by the

Federal Reserve's

latest economic pronouncement.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading half a point below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 1-point decline. The 10-year Treasury was down 4/32 in price to yield 5.23%, while the dollar fell against the yen and euro.

Overseas markets were higher, with London's FTSE 100 up 0.8% to 5840 and Germany's Xetra DAX gained 1.2% to 5650. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rising 2.5% overnight to 15,505. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also added 2.5%, to 16,268.

U.S. stocks surged on Thursday as traders sensed a dovish subtext in the statement accompanying the Fed's 17th consecutive quarter-point rate hike. While boosting fed funds to 5.25%, its highest level since early 2001, policymakers noted that "economic growth is moderating," a statement markets interpreted as lowering the odds of another hike when the Fed next meets in August.

Fed members said "some inflation risks remain" in the economy. "The extent and timing of any additional firming that may be needed to address these risks will depend on the evolution of the outlook for both inflation and economic growth, as implied by incoming information," the FOMC statement said.

The absence of firmer anti-inflation language was enough to spark a rally on Wall Street. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 217 points, or 28%, to 11,190.80, its best single-session point gain since March 2003. The S&P 500 gained 27 points, or 2.2%, to 1273, and the Nasdaq surged 63 points, or 3%, to 21748.

Thursday's gains came even as oil prices jumped nearly 2% on Nymex, closing at $73.55 a barrel as traders went long ahead of a major week for U.S. travel. On Friday, August crude eased 15 cents to $73.40. In the metals market, gold rose $7.90 to $596.80 an ounce while copper rose 1.4 cents to $3.34 a pound.

A handful of big tech companies reported earnings after the bell Thursday.

Research in Motion

(RIMM)

said first-quarter earnings fell 2% from a year ago but still beat estimates on a 35% rise in revenue. The company reported 680,000 BlackBerry subscribers additions in the quarter, about 5,000 more than it predicted.

Palm

(PALM)

earned $27.2 million, or 25 cents a share, in its fourth quarter, 53% from a year ago. Adjusted earnings were well ahead of estimates. Still, the stock declined in late trading and the device maker's first-quarter profit guidance trailed Street forecasts.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here

.