September 19, 2019 / 1:24 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-Wall St set to open higher after mixed policy signals from Fed

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* Microsoft gains on $40 bln share buyback plan

* Oil stocks track recovery in crude prices

* U.S.-China trade talks resume on Thursday

* Weekly jobless claims rise less-than-expected

* Futures up: Dow 0.19%, S&P 0.17%, Nasdaq 0.18% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By Ambar Warrick

Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open higher on Thursday, a day after the Federal Reserve cut rates as expected but played down hopes of further monetary easing.

Microsoft Corp rose 1.4% in premarket trading and was the biggest gainer among Dow-listed stocks after it announced a $40 billion share buyback plan.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell posited a "favorable" outlook for the U.S. economy on Wednesday and said future rate cuts would be "largely data-dependent".

New projections showed policymakers at the median expected interest rates to stay within the new range through 2020. However, traders still see a 42.8% chance of another quarter percentage point cut in October, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

"I think the Fed essentially left the door open to do whatever is necessary," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin.

"It all depends on what happens with economic data and the (U.S.-China) trade discussions over the next six weeks or so," he said.

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade officials are set to resume face-to-face talks on Thursday for the first time in nearly two months, aiming to lay the groundwork for high-level negotiations planned in early October.

Fresh economic data showed U.S. current account deficit narrowed sharply in the second quarter, while fewer-than-expected Americans filled out applications for unemployment benefits last week.

At 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 52 points, or 0.19%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.17% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 14.25 points, or 0.18%.

Oil and gas stocks rose in premarket trading, tracking a recovery in oil prices as the market assesses the fallout from last weekend's drone attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure.

Halliburton Co and Occidental Petroleum Corp rose more than 1.3% each.

Interest rate-sensitive bank stocks were slightly lower in premarket trade, after closing up 0.7% in the previous session. Bank of America and JP Morgan fell about 0.3%each.

Content delivery network provider Akamai Technologies Inc was down 2.6% after KeyBanc analysts downgraded the stock to "sector weight" from "over weight". (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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