Stock Futures Cheer ECB's Unprecedented Rate Cut

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were picking up strength Thursday as the markets cheered the European Central Bank's unprecedented moves to help stimulate the eurozone economy.

The ECB on Thursday cut the refi rate to 0.15% and the marginal lending rate to 0.4% and decided in favor of slashing the deposit rate to negative territory for the first time at -0.1%. The decision demonstrated the ECB's commitment to fighting a prolonged period of low inflation that has been adding to worries over a faltering economic recovery.

S&P 500 futures were climbing 3.5 points, or 2.92 points above fair value, to 1,929.25. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were gaining 43 points, or 34.47 points above fair value, at 16,761. Nasdaq futures were increasing 6.2 points, or 6.71 points above fair value, to 3,749.5.

European markets were beginning to turn higher, with the DAX up 0.46% and the FTSE up 0.21%.

Stock markets in Asia finished Thursday mixed.

A handful of individual stocks were spiking in the premarket hours. Sprint (S) was gaining 3.19% and T-Mobile US (TMUS) was adding on 0.64% after The Wall Street Journal reported the two agreed on the broad outlines of a merger valuing T-Mobile at around $32 billion. Twitter (TWTR) was advancing 1.37% as The Financial Times reported that Twitter has considered buying online music services including Soundcloud and Spotify in recent months. Medtronic (MDT) was poised for heightened attention as Bloomberg said it's evaluating a takeover of London-based Smith & Nephew that could see the U.S. company move its tax domicile overseas.

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes weekly initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

The S&P 500 hit a record intraday high Wednesday, despite spending much of the morning in the red amid renewed confidence in homegrown growth ahead of the ECB meeting.

-- By Andrea Tse in New York

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