Here are five things you must know for Thursday, March 16:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were higher and shares in Europe and Asia posted strong gains after the Federal Reserve boosted interest rates by 25 basis points and issued a dovish policy forecast.
U.S. stocks on Wednesday closed near records set at the beginning of March after the Fed's rate hike reaffirmed faith in the strength of the U.S. economy.
Markets "had expected [a rate hike] and they had been very clear in telegraphing that to the Fed as well," Bodhi Ganguli, lead economist at Dun & Bradstreet, told TheStreet. "There was relief that we're on this path to normalization ... It basically signals confidence in the U.S. economy, both from the Fed and the markets. If the markets didn't believe it, they wouldn't have reacted positively."
The central bank also released updated forecasts, including the '"dot plot" matrix that visualizes each Fed official's expectations for the pace of future rate increases. The Fed forecast two more rate hikes in 2017, in-line with its previous forecasts and as markets anticipated.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Thursday includes Housing Starts for February at 8:30 a.m. EDT, weekly Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m., the Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey for March at 8:30 a.m., and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for January at 10 a.m.