US STOCKS-Futures sharply lower after BOJ holds steady on rates
* Futures down: Dow 142 pts, S&P 15.5 pts, Nasdaq 23 pts
By Tanya Agrawal
April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures followed global shares sharply lower on Thursday after the Bank of Japan stunned markets by holding off from expanding monetary stimulus.
* The BOJ's decision to hold steady in the face of soft global demand and a rise in the yen was particularly jarring for markets after media reports ahead of the meeting said it wanted to go deeper into negative interest rates.
* The BOJ's decision comes a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to hold steady on rates and after fears eased that the Fed would signal a rise in June.
* While the labor market continues to gain strength, inflation remains below the central bank's 2 percent target.
* Investors will also keep an eye on first-quarter gross domestic product number scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT). GDP probably rose at a 0.7 percent annual rate after a 1.4 percent pace in the fourth quarter as domestic demand cooled.
* Another piece of data is expected to show that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has risen to 260,000 last week from 247,000 the week before.
* Economists polled by Reuters expect two rate increases this year but futures prices show traders do not expect a hike until at least September, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool. Continuación...