European stocks are expected to open higher Thursday as global investors begin adjusting portfolios in anticipation of higher interest rates after a series of policy tightening signals from major central bank presidents.
The change in tone, while not seemingly co-ordinated, nonetheless suggests a shift away from the 'near zero' interest rate strategies and extraordinary stimulus efforts put in place during the global financial crisis nearly a decade ago as economies recover and inflation slowly begins to accelerate.
Britain's FTSE 100 is likely to add 33 points, or 0.45%, at the opening bell, according to financial bookmakers IG, even as the pound continues to trade at multi-week highs after Wednesday's speech from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney referenced the removal of stimulus if U.K. growth were to surprise on the upside.
The gains for both the pound and the euro -- which traded at 1.1398, the highest in more than a year, overnight -- helped push the U.S. dollar index to a nine-month low of 95.81 as investors bailed out of the greenback in search of both yield and diversification.
Wednesday's moves on Wall Street, however, should suggest a near-term rebound for the buck, given that benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose 3 basis points to 2.23%, stocks booked healthy gains across the board and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen confirmed the FOMC's intention to gradually raise interest rates in order to deliver on its employment and price stability mandate.
Global oil prices edged higher in overnight trading, although gains were limited by ongoing concerns over the glut in crude supplies in the world's biggest economies, including the United States, where the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday stocks rose by 118,000 barrels last week.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures for August delivery were marked 0.5% higher at $44.96 at the start of European trading while Brent contracts for the same month, the global benchmark, were seen 0.4% higher at $47.50.
Wall Street looks set to extend Wednesday's gains at the opening bell, according to early U.S. futures prices, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average likely to gain 40 points, or 0.20%, at the start of trading while the broader S&P 500 will likely add 0.22% to yesterday's advance.