US STOCKS-Wall St to open higher a day after Fed's stimulus decision
* Fed to continue $85-billion monthly bond purchases
* U.S. jobless claims rise; backlog said to distort data
* Futures up: Dow 28 pts, S&P 3.8 pts, Nasdaq 9.25 pts
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Wall Street was set for a slightly higher open on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve surprised investors and economists by keeping its stimulus measures intact.
But gains could be capped after the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 indexes climbed to all-time highs on Wednesday in the wake of the Fed's decision.
The U.S. Federal Reserve defied market expectations on Wednesday by postponing a wind-down of its massive monetary stimulus, saying it would wait for more evidence of solid economic growth. The Fed will continue, for now, with its $85-billion monthly bond purchases which have propped up economic growth and equity markets for much of the year.
The news boosted global equity markets, including European shares, which were on track for their highest close in more than five years. The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.9 percent at 1,270.25 points, around its highest since mid-2008.
Southeast Asian stocks and currencies also surged as investors returned to emerging markets in droves after the Fed's decision.
"Yesterday's decision was a big shock to the market and for now, the positive sentiment is intact," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
"Maybe next week the market will digest more information and realize that tapering is not exactly off the table."
In economic news, data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week. Still, it was difficult to get a clear read on the labor market's health as a Labor Department analyst said two states appeared to be working through a backlog of unprocessed claims. The market barely reacted to the data.
S&P 500 futures rose 3.8 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 28 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 9.25 points.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank, will pay approximately $920 million in penalties to regulators in two countries to settle some of its potential liabilities from its $6.2-billion "London Whale" derivatives loss last year, according to terms made public on Thursday.
In company news, Rite Aid Corp, the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain, raised its profit forecast for the current year after reporting a fourth straight quarterly profit. The stock jumped 13 percent to $4.18 in premarket trading.
Priceline Com Inc could be in the spotlight after its shares hit $1,000 on Wednesday, the first S&P 500 stock to hit that level. The stock was little changed in premarket trading.