December 8, 2016 / 12:30 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Futures flat ahead of ECB rate decision

* Futures up: Dow 4 pts, S&P 0.25 pts, Nasdaq 3 pts

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, a day after the Dow and the S&P 500 hit new highs, while investors awaited the European Central Bank’s decision on monetary policy.

* The ECB is expected to announce an extension of its stimulus program at 7:45 a.m. ET (1245 GMT) followed by President Mario Draghi’s press conference at 8:30 a.m. ET.

* Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president last month sparked a euphoria on Wall Street, with investors chasing stocks that are likely to gain from his proposals of higher infrastructure spending and simpler industry regulation.

* The Dow Transportation index marked its first record high since 2014 on Wednesday, adding to the bullish tone for equities. The three major Wall Street indexes gained more than 1 percent at the close.

* A report, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show 10,000 fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits last week, building on a spate of data that has pointed to a robust economy.

* China reported that imports grew at the fastest pace in more than two years in November, while exports also picked up unexpectedly.

* Oil prices gained more than 1 percent, rising for the first time in three days, supported by a weaker dollar, even as investors remained doubtful if the OPEC’s production cut deal would be enough to reduce oversupply.

* Investors, however, may tread cautiously ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week, where there is a more than 90 percent chance of an interest rate hike.

* Lululemon soared 15.6 percent to $69.20 premarket, after the yoga and leisure apparel retailer reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

* Costco rose 1.67 percent to $156.42 in thin trading after the warehouse club retailer reported a quarterly profit that beat analysts’ expectations.

Futures snapshot at 6:57 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.02 percent, with 22,692 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent, with 147,046 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.06 percent, on volume of 14,522 contracts. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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