* Costco June sales top expectations
* Initial claims, import-export prices due
* Bernanke comments cool stimulus-slowing ideas
* Futures up: Dow 129 pts, S&P 16 pts, Nasdaq 26.75 pts
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, July 11 U.S. stock index futures
climbed on Thursday, after comments by U.S. Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the central bank was unlikely to
scale back its stimulus measures as early as recently expected.
* Bernanke, at an economic conference in Cambridge,
Massachusetts on Wednesday, said a highly accommodative monetary
policy was needed for the foreseeable future, and that the U.S.
unemployment rate of 7.6 percent was overstating the health of
the job market.
* The Fed chairman's comments sent the dollar lower
and boosted commodities such as gold and copper.
U.S.-listed shares of Barrick Gold climbed 4.6 percent
to $14.65 while Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold gained
2.4 percent to $28.26 in premarket trade.
* The S&P 500 has risen 2.4 percent over the past five
sessions, the longest winning streak for the benchmark index
since early March, as investors have been encouraged by
improving economic data and in anticipation of a
better-than-expected earnings season.
* Investors await weekly initial jobless claims data and
June import-export prices, to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230
GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 340,000
new filings. Import prices are expected to remain unchanged
while export prices are expected to show a 0.1 percent decline.
* S&P 500 futures rose 16 points and were well 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 gained 129
points, and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 26.75 points.
* Retail stocks will garner attention as they post monthly
sales results. Costco Wholesale Corp reported June
same-store sales that beat analysts' estimates, helped by higher
* Advanced Micro Devices Inc climbed 5.5 percent to
$4.20 before the opening bell, after Bank of America Merrill
Lynch upgraded the stock to "buy" from "underperform."
* European shares hit five-week highs, led by
growth-sensitive stocks, while Asian shares hit a near four-week
high, after Bernanke's comments.