European stocks are set to open the final full week of May trading on the upside Monday even as investors continue to take a cautious approach to risk sentiment as the political upheaval surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump shows no signs of abating.
Britain's FTSE 100 is slate for an early 27 point gain, according to financial bookmakers IG, while benchmarks in Germany and France are poised to add to last week's advances in the opening minutes of trading.
The anticipated gains are set to follow a solid session overnight in Asia, where stocks posted their strongest single-day rise in nearly a month thanks in part to a softer U.S. dollar and stabilizing oil prices.
A $20 billion deal in the European chemicals space is also likely to support markets at the opening bell, with Switzerland's Clariant AG (CLZNY) and Huntsman Corp. (HUN) - Get Huntsman Corporation Report saying they had agreed to terms that will lead to a merger between the two chemical companies in deal that will be worth $20 billion.
HuntsmanClariant will have sales of around $13.2 billion, the companies said, based on pro-forma 2016 sales and adjusted operating profit of $2.3 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year, the companies said in a statement.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index, the regional benchmark, was marked 0.9% higher by 06:45 BST while Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the session with a 0.45% advance to 19,678.28 points, even with the dollar's weakness pushing the yen higher in overnight trading.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of its global peers, traded modestly higher in Asia but remains welded near six-month lows as investors continue to worry about political developments in the United States and wonder what the next headline may reveal with respect to the ongoing investigations into ties between Russian officials, President Trump's electoral campaign and the White House.
More directly-related data will also likely add to the dollar's volatility this week, notably in the form of Trump's first budget, scheduled for Tuesday, and the second reading of U.S. GDP later in the week.
Global oil prices continued to rise overnight after a torrid week of trading for crude futures last week that saw U.S. prices pass the $50 mark amid increased bets that OPEC members and their allies are prepared to extend their 1.8 million in production cuts well into 2018.
WTI futures for July delivery were marked at $51.01 per barrel, a 1.35% gain from their Friday close, while Brent contracts for the same month were seen at $53.90, a smaller 0.52% gain from Friday.
Early indications from U.S. futures prices suggest a modestly stronger open on Wall Street Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to rise around 43 points, or 0.2%, at the opening bell and the S&P 500 likely to gain 4.25 points, or 0.18%, at the start of trading.