* Futures up: Dow 66 pts, S&P 8 pts, Nasdaq 14.5 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that an interest rate hike in December was a “live possibility”.
* Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday, retracing recent gains along with energy shares, while Yellen’s comments added to investor caution.
* Stocks have rallied since the Fed signaled last week that a December rate hike was still on the table, yet the ongoing debate over when the central bank will move has added to investor uncertainty.
* Yellen’s comments sent the dollar to a three-month high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday.
* Higher rates increase borrowing costs for companies, while a rise in the dollar hurts their income from overseas markets.
* Data due on Thursday will likely show that unemployment benefits claims increased by 2,000 to 262,000 last week. The report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), comes ahead of Friday’s more comprehensive nonfarm monthly payrolls data.
* A raft of data on Wednesday, including a report showing U.S. private employers maintained a steady pace of hiring in October, suggested the economy was strong enough to support ending an era of near-zero interest rates.
* Facebook’s shares rose 4.3 percent to $108.35 premarket, set to open at a record high, after the company’s quarterly results beat estimates.
* Qualcomm fell 6.4 percent to $56.40 after a lower-than-expected profit forecast for the first quarter.
* HomeAway surged 22 percent to $39 after Expedia said it would buy the vacation rental site for $3.9 billion. Expedia was up 4.6 percent at $140.29.
* Whole Foods fell 5.7 percent to $29 after reporting a surprise drop in quarterly same-store sales.
* A host of Fed policymakers are scheduled to speak on Thursday, including Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, New York Fed President William Dudley, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart.
* News Corp, Nvidia, Kraft Heinz and Disney are scheduled to report results after the close.
Futures snapshot at 7:15 a.m. ET:
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.38 percent, with 117,466 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.5 points, or 0.31 percent, on volume of 17,908 contracts.
* Dow e-minis were up 66 points, or 0.37 percent, with 13,757 contracts changing hands. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)