June 7, 2016 / 11:27 AM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures up after Yellen eases worries over economic health

* Futures up: Dow 49 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 14.5 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

June 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Tuesday, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen expressed confidence in the health of the economy, but was less hawkish on raising interest rates in the near-term.

* Yellen’s remarks, likely her last public comments before a policy meeting next week, sought to soothe nerves after a shockingly weak monthly jobs report raised concerns about the economy’s health and its ability to absorb a rate hike as early as June.

* The S&P 500 closed at a 7-month high on Monday as Yellen’s remarks helped ease those concerns, while underscoring views the Fed may be in no rush to raise rates, not the least at its meeting on June 14-15.

* Yellen’s more dovish comments were in contrast to those made on May 27 when she pointed out at strength in the labor market and optimism over rising inflation would make a rate hike appropriate in the coming months.

* Traders are pricing in a 3.8 percent chance of a rate hike when the Fed meets next week, a 38 percent chance of a July hike and a 40 percent chance of a hike in September, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

* Oil prices hovered around their 2016 highs, helping by a weaker dollar after Yellen’s comments and lower supply after attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria.

* Valeant’s shares slumped 11.4 percent to $25.57 premarket after the drugmaker posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year forecasts.

* Alexion tumbled 11.5 percent to $137.16 after its drug Soliris missed the main goal in a study.

* Sarepta Therapeutics soared 37 percent to $22 after the FDA asked for additional data on its muscle-wasting treatment, raising hopes it could be approved.

Futures snapshot at 7:15 a.m. EDT:

* Dow e-minis were up 49 points, or 0.27 percent, with 16,011 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.24 percent, with 138,541 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.5 points, or 0.32 percent, on volume of 15,644 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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