* Traders still see 83 pct chance of June rate hike
* Weekly jobless claims rise less than expected
* Sears, Best Buy rise after strong quarterly results
* Futures up: Dow 57 pts, S&P 5 pts, Nasdaq 18.5 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)
By Tanya Agrawal
May 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks looked set to open higher on Thursday after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting showed policymakers expected the economy to pick up momentum and that they would raise interest rates soon.
But, policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising rates until it was clear a recent slowdown in the U.S. economy was temporary.
Federal funds futures imply traders see an 83 percent chance of a rate hike in June, unchanged from before the minutes, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
However, the odds of a further increase this year dipped to 46 percent, from roughly 50 percent late on Tuesday.
“I think the markets are pretty okay at this point with a June rate hike,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“The Fed made it pretty clear that the economic slowdown is transitory and as long as the economic data picks up, we should see a rate hike next month. The only hurdle to that could be employment numbers,” said Brown, referring to the data for May due next week.
Dow e-minis were up 57 points, or 0.27 percent, with 31,843 contracts changing hands at 8:33 a.m. ET (1233 GMT). S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.21 percent, with 179,088 contracts traded. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 18.5 points, or 0.32 percent, on volume of 38,870 contracts.
Following the minutes, the S&P 500 closed at a record high on Wednesday. The S&P and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched gains for a fifth straight day.
While recent economic data has been mixed, with signs of a dip in consumer sentiment and spending, the job market continues to strengthen.
That was reinforced by the jobless claims data, which showed that claims rose less than expected last week and the four-week moving average of claims fell to a 44-year low.
Among stocks, HP Inc rose 3.3 percent to $19.69 after the PC and printer maker’s results beat expectations.
Medtronic was up 1.6 percent at $86.05 after the medical device maker reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit.
Retailers, which have been posting disappointing results, were set for an odd bright session.
Sears jumped 12.5 percent to $8.38 after posting its first quarterly profit in nearly two years. Best Buy surged 13 percent as its comparable sales unexpectedly increased.
Tommy Hilfiger-owner PVH rose 5.5 percent and Guess jumped nearly 14 percent after issuing strong results and forecasts. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)