* Futures up: Dow 16 pts, S&P 2.5 pts, Nasdaq 2.5 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
July 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday after the Federal Reserve decided to keep borrowing costs unchanged and painted an upbeat picture of the economy.
* The Fed said on Wednesday that near-term risks to the outlook of the U.S. economy had diminished, leaving the door open for a possible increase in the coming months.
* Traders have priced in an 18 percent chance of a rate hike in September and a near 40 percent chance in December. Those odds do not go significantly higher even until July next year, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
* Wall Street ended lower on Wednesday, after the Fed was seen to be taking a more hawkish stance.
* Facebook posted second-quarter results on Wednesday that handily beat analysts’ estimates, setting its shares to hit a record high in regular trading. The stock’s 5 percent rise premarket made it the top percentage gainer among S&P 500 components.
* A set of better-than-expected results this week from key companies including Apple and Boeing have improved the prospects for corporate earnings in the latest quarter.
* Earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to fall 3 percent, compared with the 5 percent decline estimated at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
* Google parent Alphabet and online retailer Amazon.com are expected to report results after the bell. Shares of the two companies were up about 1 percent in thin premarket trading.
* A report on unemployment numbers at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) is likely to show an increase of 7,000 for the week ended July 22.
* U.S.-listed shares of Royal Dutch Shell dropped 3.4 percent after the company reported a 70 percent plunge in quarterly earnings.
* Apple-supplier Cirrus soared 12.5 percent to $47.01 after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results.
* BioMarin rose nearly 2 percent to $100 after reporting positive data from its gene therapy study.
Futures snapshot at 6:44 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were up 16 points, or 0.09 percent, with 14,294 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.12 percent, with 133,087 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.05 percent, on volume of 16,177 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)