European markets are poised to open modestly higher Thursday as investors cautiously return to trading after yesterday's deadly terrorist attack in London and await a key vote on healthcare reform in the United States that could define the early Presidential term of Donald Trump.
Stocks are likely to add modest gains at the opening bell, according to prices from financial bookmakers IG, with Britain's FTSE 100 looking at a 6 point bump at the start of trading. Germany's DAX performance index is called to open around 41 points higher while France's CAC-40 could be in for a 7 point gain when trading commences.
Trading in Asia was largely a cautious affair, as well, with investors gingerly adding to long-dollar positions after the greenback fell to a 7-week low against a basket of global currencies and U.S. Treasuries rallied, pushing yields lower. The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.18% higher by 06:45 GMT while the benchmark Nikkei 225 benefited from a late-session rally to end the day 0.23% to the good at 19,085.31 points.
Much of the market's focus, however, remains firmly fixed on what is expected to be a dramatic vote in Washington on President Trump's signature policy effort to date: the Affordable Care Act. Should lawmakers failed to pass the "repeal and replace" legislation that will wipe out the controversial 'Obamacare' program, investors may take it as a signal that the President will find it increasingly difficult to push through his ambitious agenda of tax reform, regulatory change and fiscal stimulus.
The S&P 500 rebounded by the final hour of trading Wednesday, shaking off earlier pressure from dual forces: worries over progress over regulatory reform and a shooting in London that kept world markets on edge.
The S&P 500 ended the day up 0.19%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.03%. The Nasdaq was the best performer, rising 0.48%, thanks to gains in the tech sector.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures suggest further caution on Wall Street, with the Dow expected to open 3 points lower and little changed anticipated from yesterday's closing prices for either the Nasdaq or the S&P 500.