European markets edged higher Tuesday, while U.S. equity futures suggested a modestly positive open on Wall Street as investors pared their appetite for global stocks ahead of the start of the corporate earnings season, a modest dollar rebound and rising Treasury bond yields.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index added 0.28% in the opening minutes of trading to 399.53 points, testing two-and-a-half year highs as investors snapped up cheaper equities in the wake of a pullback in the single currency, which fell 0.2% against the greenback to change hands at 1.1942. Germany's DAX performance was bumped 30 points higher into the green at the start of the trading day, while France's CAC-40 was marked 0.12% to the upside .
Early indications from Wall Street futures point to another indecisive day for U.S. markets ahead of the start of the corporate earnings season, which kicks off in earnest Thursday with fourth quarter numbers from Bank of America Corp. (BAC) - Get Report and is followed by Friday releases from rivals JPMorgan & Co. (JPM) - Get Report PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC) - Get Report and Well Fargo & Co. (WFC) - Get Report
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were marked 25 points higher from their Monday close, suggesting a 0.1% gain at the opening bell, while those linked to the broader S&P 500 edged just 0.75 points above their closing levels in early European trading.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, added 0.21% from early Monday levels to change hands at 92.35, thanks in part to modestly higher U.S. Treasury bonds yields and profit-taking in the euro, which has the largest influence on the dollar basket.
Benchmark U.S. 10-year yields hit 2.5% ahead of a week in which $56 billion in new paper will hit the market, while 2-year yields bumps 1 basis point higher to 1.96%.
Overnight in Asia, stocks held close to their 10-year highs even as sentiment in the tech and semiconductor sector was dampened by modestly softer fourth quarter earnings guidance from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNLF) , which said it expects a bottom line of around $14.1 billion for the three months ending in December.
The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slipped 0.05% to 589.47 points, still withing touching distance of 10-year and all-time highs, while Japan's Nikkei 225 returned from its 'Coming-of-Age Day' holiday to gain 0.6% and close at 28,849.99 points despite suggestions from the Bank of Japan that it may slowly pull back some of its extraordinary stimulus now that stocks are trading at 27-year highs.
Global oil markets extended gains in overnight trading, and held them into the European session, ahead of what could prove to be critical inventory data from the United States later this week. Last Friday's modest dip in U.S. drilling installations, along with the ongoing discipline of OPEC members to comply with agreed production cuts that are taking 1.8 million barrels of oil from the market each day, have pushed prices to the highest levels in more than two and a half years.
Brent crude contracts for March delivery, the global benchmark, were seen 0.4% higher from their Monday New York close at $68.05 per barrel while WTI futures for the same month added 0.55% to change hands at $62.09 per barrel.