Stock Market Today: Futures Rally as ECB Cuts Rates, Launches Stimulus Program

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock index futures were rallying Thursday after the European Central Bank fulfilled the market's hope for further economic stimulus measures.

ECB President Mario Draghi announced on Thursday that the bank would launch an asset-backed securities purchase program to help boost liquidity in the financial markets and stimulate lending. His statement came after the ECB cuts its benchmark interest rate to 0.05% from 0.15% and deposit rate to -0.2% from -0.1%. Draghi had fueled hopes last month of more action to combat deflationary risks in the slowing eurozone economy during a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 36 points, or 41.72 points above fair value, to 17,109. S&P 500 futures were up 6 points, or 5.58 points above fair value, to 2,004.75. Nasdaq futures were up 11 points, or 12.24 points above fair value, to 4,082.8.

The Bank of Japan decided after its two-day meeting to maintain its massive monetary stimulus program. The Bank of England kept its main interest rate at a record low of 0.5% and the size of its stimulus program unchanged at 375 billion pounds ($617 billion).

The ADP private payroll employment report for August said 204,000 jobs were added last month vs. the expectation of 220,000. That's down from July's 212,000 rise, but still suggests strong job growth, according to economists. The Labor Department said U.S. weekly initial jobless claims rose 4,000 to 302,000 last week vs. the average estimate of 300,000. While the four-week moving average increased by 3,000 to 302,750, claim levels stayed low.

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