US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq set to open higher on tech boost

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US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq set to open higher on tech boost

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* GameStop jumps as Ryan Cohen to be made chairman

* Big Tech rises in premarket trading

* Alibaba up as Jefferies raises price target

* Futures: Dow down 0.08%, S&P up 0.2%, Nasdaq up 0.8% (Adds comment, updates prices)

April 8 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were set to open higher on Thursday, buoyed by tech-related stocks, a day after the Federal Reserve reiterated its pledge to remain ultra-dovish until an economic recovery is more secure.

Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp Facebook Inc and Inc rose between 0.8% and 1% in premarket trading.

High-growth tech stocks have recovered in recent sessions as U.S. 10-year bond yields backed off from their 14-month highs.

Latest data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the increase likely understates the rapidly improving labor market conditions.

The Fed acknowledged the economy was on its path to a strong rebound backed by massive fiscal spending and accelerating vaccinations, minutes released on Wednesday showed. However, the central bank noted it would be “some time” before conditions improve enough for the Fed to rein in its support.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will speak at a virtual International Monetary Fund event at 1200 ET (1600 GMT).

The first-quarter earnings season begins in earnest next week with results from big U.S. banks. Analysts have raised expectations for first-quarter S&P 500 earnings increase to 24.2%, according to Refinitiv IBES data as of April 1, versus 21% forecast on Feb. 5.

“The next big catalyst for the markets will be earnings,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“This is going to be an important earnings season as it is the first quarter in comparison to a full year of the pandemic.”

The S&P 500 and the Dow ended a choppy session near their record highs on Wednesday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is still more than 3% below its February all-time high.

At 08:51 a.m. EDT, Dow E-minis were down 26 points, or 0.08%, with 33,472 contracts changing hands. S&P 500 stock futures were up 0.28% . Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 112.25 points, or 0.83%.

The so-called “meme stock” GameStop Corp rose about 4.5% as the company intends to elect activist investor Ryan Cohen as chairman, putting him in the driver’s seat as he looks to transform the videogame retailer.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba rose 1.2% as Jefferies bumped up its price target on the e-commerce firm’s stock.

Tesla Inc edged 0.9% higher on the Joe Biden administration’s $174 billion proposal to boost electric vehicles. (Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)