US STOCKS-Wall St rally set to continue as oil prices rise

jueves 18 de febrero de 2016 09:56 GYT

* Wal-Mart down after sales growth forecast cut

* IBM up after Morgan Stanley upgrade

* Jobless claims unexpectedly fell last week

* Futures up: Dow 60 pts, S&P 5.5 pts, Nasdaq 18.75 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Feb 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Thursday, and extend a three-day rally, as oil prices continued to rise.

Brent crude prices were up 2.5 percent, rising for the second straight day after Iran supported plans to freeze output and a report showed a surprise drop in U.S. inventory.

Adding to the positive sentiment, data showed jobless claims unexpectedly fell to 262,000 last week, pointing to labor market strength that could keep rate hikes on the table this year.

The rout in the stock market this year and the global slowdown have also weighed on U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers, who are considering altering the central bank's interest rate hike program for 2016.   Continuación...