US STOCKS-Futures rise after Fed leaves interest rates unchanged
* Futures up: Dow 54 pts, S&P 6 pts, Nasdaq 16 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Sept 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve stood pat on interest rates in a widely expected outcome.
* The central bank said economic conditions were improving, but the recent slack in the labor market and inflation running below its 2 percent target gave it reasons not to pull the trigger this time.
* The Fed slowed the pace of future hikes and cut its longer run interest rate forecast to 2.9 percent from 3 percent, but sent a strong signal for a move by the end of this year.
* The dollar index declined 0.4 percent on Thursday, and was on track to mark the second straight day of losses after the central bank's decision.
* Wall Street rallied on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq closing at a record high as the rate decision whetted investor appetite for equities.
* Overall consensus among economists is for a hike in December, when traders see a 58.4 percent chance of a hike, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.
* The market will now shift its attention to economic data, including Thursday's weekly jobless claims report, to assess when the Fed could make its next adjustment to rates. Jobs claims last week rose by 2,000 to 262,000, a report at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) is likely to show. Continuación...