European stocks are expected to open mixed Thursday following a solid session in Asia and a pullback for the U.S. dollar.
Britain's FTSE 100 will likely kick off trading with a 7 point decline, according to financial bookmakers IG, although several bluechip heavyweight stocks such as BP plc (BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Sponsored ADR Report , Royal Dutch Shell plc (undefined) and AstraZeneca plc (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report will trade 'ex-dividend' as of Thursday, weighing on the index. Germany's DAX performance index is expected to gain 1 point at the opening bell while France's CAC-40 will start the session 12 points to the good.
Overnight in Asia, a pullback in the U.S. dollar helped lift shares in the region to their highest levels since July 2015, with the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index rising 0.3% by 07;00 GMT. Japan's Nikkei 225, however, slipped 0.47% on the day as the yen held relatively firm at 113.85 against the greenback.
The dollar index, a measure of the currencies strength against a basket of its major trading partners, fell 0.86% from a one-month high to trade at 100.88 as investors trimmed bullish bets after testimony from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen failed to deliver any further indications on rate increases in the coming months. Benchmark 10 year U.S. Treasury yields also retreated, falling 4 basis points to 2.48%.
Oil markets were broadly stable, with the dollar's decline limiting some of bearish sentiment on prices that stemmed from a much better-than-expected increase in commercial crude stocks, which rose 9.5 million barrels to a record 518 million, according to Energy Information Administration data published Wednesday.
WTI futures for March delivery fell 0.33% to change hands at $52.94 each while Brent contracts for the same month, the global benchmark, retreated 0.23% to $55.62 per barrel.
Early indications from U.S. futures prices suggest a modestly positive open on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 21 points, the S&P 500 extending its seven day win streak with a 1 point gain and the Nasdaq rising 6.3 points.