US STOCKS-Futures higher after Yellen’s rate hike view

* Futures higher: Dow 20 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 18.25 pts

By Ankur Banerjee

July 13 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures were higher on
Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s
dovish stand on interest rates allayed investor fears of a
tighter monetary policy.

* Yellen’s comments were part of her two-day semi-annual
monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.
She will resume her testimony at 10 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).

* Investors cheered Yellen’s view of gradual increase in
rates on Wednesday, with world shares hitting their fourth
all-time high in less than a month on Thursday.

* The Dow rose to a record high close while U.S. stocks kept
their upward momentum on Wednesday following Yellen’s comments.

* The U.S. economy is healthy enough for the Fed to raise
rates and begin winding down its massive bond portfolio, though
low inflation and a low neutral rate may leave the central bank
with diminished leeway, Yellen said on Wednesday.

* Oil prices fell on Thursday on worries about oversupply as
the world’s energy watchdog warned that a long-awaited market
rebalancing could be delayed due to weak compliance with
production cuts among OPEC members.

* The U.S. economy grew at a “slight to moderate” pace over
the last several weeks across all regions of the country, with
wage pressures reported for both low- and high-skilled jobs, the
Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday in its latest compendium
of regional economic activity.

* Data from the U.S. Labor Department is expected to show
that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to
245,000 for the week ended July 8 after rising to 248,000 the
week before. The report is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT)

* The Labor Department will also issues its Producer Price
Index for June at 8:30 a.m. ET. Annualized PPI final demand is
expected to rise 1.9 percent, but lower than 2.4 percent
increase in May.

* Investors are keeping an eye on second-quarter earnings
reports on Friday from big U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase
, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.

* Investors will also look at data on June Consumer Price
Index due on Friday.

Futures snapshot at 6:42 a.m. EDT:

* Dow e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.09 percent,
with 11,078 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 4 points, or 0.16 percent,
with 89,411 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 18.25 points, or 0.32
percent, on volume of 19,652 contracts.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun