US STOCKS-Futures rise on Fed's rate hike, dovish comments
* Futures up: Dow 62 pts, S&P 6.75 pts, Nasdaq 21.25 pts
By Abhiram Nandakumar
Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, signaling confidence in the strength of the world's largest economy.
* The central bank raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to between 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent, ending months of uncertainty.
* Fed Chair Janet Yellen strongly hinted at a gradual tightening of monetary policy after Wednesday's rate increase and that the pace of further hikes would depend on inflation, which remained firmly below the central bank's 2 percent target.
* Global markets jumped on Thursday, and the dollar strengthened, while U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday.
* Investors will now keep a weather eye on data to gauge the economy's capacity to withstand higher rates.
* U.S. economic data due on Thursday is expected to show jobless claims fell last week to 275,000 from 282,00. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1330 GMT).
* Also scheduled for release at the same time is data on third-quarter current account deficit, which is forecast to have expanded to $118 billion from $109.7 billion. Continuación...