November 5, 2015 / 1:56 PM / in 4 years

US STOCKS-Indexes set to open higher as Dec rate hike back on cards

* Facebook set to hit record high after results

* HomeAway surges after Expedia’s buyout offer

* Qualcomm, Whole Foods down after weak results

* Jobless claims last week increased most in 8 months

* Futures up: Dow 53 pts, S&P 6.5 pts, Nasdaq 10.75 pts (Adds details, comment, updates prices)

By Abhiram Nandakumar

Nov 5 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set for a higher open on Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that an interest rate hike in December was a “live possibility”.

Wall Street closed lower on Wednesday, retracing recent gains along with energy shares, while Yellen’s comments added to investor caution.

Stocks have rallied since the Fed signaled last week that a December rate hike was still on the table, yet the ongoing debate over when the central bank will end an era of near-zero interest rates has added to investor uncertainty.

“It’s going to be a quiet day ... as people are going to be squaring positions and getting set up,” said Matthew Tuttle, chief executive of Tuttle Tactical Management in Stamford, Connecticut.

At 8:39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were up 6.5 points, or 0.31 percent, with 149,075 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.23 percent, on volume of 22,989 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 53 points, or 0.3 percent, with 16,939 contracts changing hands.

Data showed U.S. jobless claims rose the highest in eight months to 276,000 last week, but remained at levels consistent with a fairly healthy labor market.

The data, which comes ahead of Friday’s more comprehensive nonfarm monthly payrolls data, follow reports on Wednesday that suggested the economy was strong enough to support higher rates.

“I think tomorrow’s going to be where the real action is,” Tuttle said.

Yellen’s comments sent the dollar to a three-month high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday. Higher rates increase borrowing costs for companies, while a rise in the dollar hurts their income from overseas markets.

Facebook’s shares rose 4.3 percent to $108.41 premarket, set to open at a record high, after the company’s quarterly results beat estimates.

Qualcomm fell 5.3 percent to $57.05 after giving a lower-than-expected profit forecast for the first quarter.

HomeAway surged 23 percent to $39.40 after Expedia said it would buy the vacation rental site for $3.9 billion. Expedia was up 3.6 percent at $139.

Celgene fell 3.8 percent to $122.28 after it posted its slowest revenue growth in five quarters.

Whole Foods slumped 6.8 percent to $28.67 after an unexpected drop in quarterly same-store sales.

Fireeye sank 18 percent to $23.86 after the cybersecurity company cut its full-year revenue forecast. (Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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