European stocks look set for a modest rebound Thursday, while U.S. equity futures traded firmly into the green as investors continue to tweak portfolios over the final full trading days of the year amid notable moves in the dollar and commodity prices.
Britain's FTSE 100 is expected to open around 17 points, or 0.25% higher at the opening bell, according to financial bookmakers IG, with a similar percentage gain anticipated for the DAX performance index in Germany. European stocks may get an extra boost in early trading from a modestly weaker euro, which slipped below the 1.18 mark against a modestly resurgent greenback in overnight Asia trading.
Wall Street is looking to extend some of yesterday's tech-led rebound into the Thursday session, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average trading 48 points, or 0.2% prior to the start of the European session, and those linked to the broader S&P 500 marked 6.5 points, or 0.25% to the good.
The dollar index, a benchmark of the greenback's strength against a basket of six global currencies, was marked at a near two-week high of 93.64 in overnight trading, although it was difficult to isolate drivers for the move as asset prices around the world appeared trade independently - as is often the case in the final sessions of the year as investors put the final touches on their portfolios prior to the holiday season lull.
Nonetheless, the dollar's upward momentum kept a lid on regional currencies in Asia and helped stocks rise modestly from their 2-month lows, with the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index trading 0.08% higher into the start of the European morning and the Nikkei 225 in Japan taking back most of Wednesday's losses -- which were the biggest in nine months -- with a 1.45% advance that took the benchmark to 22,498.03 points.
Commodity prices have been notably active over the past week, with copper sinking to a four month lower before rebounding around 0.4% in the Asia session and global oil prices tumbling more than 3% yesterday to a two-month low after data showed U.S. production rates rose to an all-time high of 9.71 million barrels per day in the week ending Dec. 1
That said, Brent futures contracts for February delivery, the global benchmark for prices, were largely unchanged from their Wednesday closing prices after booking early gains in Asia trading and were changing hands at $61.21 at the start of European dealing.
WTI contracts for February were seen modestly lower at $56.16, held down by both the surging U.S. production rates published by the Energy Information Administration Wednesday and figures that showed gasoline stocks rose a much larger-than-expected 6.8 million barrels in the week ending Dec. 1.
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