European markets are expected to open mixed Thursday after relatively dovish minutes from the last meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve stalled the recent U.S. dollar rally and held down equity gains in Asia markets.
Britain's FTSE 100 is likely to open 20 points lower at the start of trading at 08:00 GMT, according to financial bookmakers IG, with investors bidding up benchmarks in Germany an France by 8 and 7 points respectively. The CAC-40 is Paris is likely to get a boost from from better-than-expected full-year earnings from carmaker PSA Peugeot SA, which will also pay its first dividend in six years.
Overnight in Asia, stocks were little changed, although with a cautious bias, as the dollar traded with an uneven pace and investors pulled back positions from multi-month highs. The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.02% higher by 06:45 GMT while Japan's Nikkei 225 recorded its second consecutive decline after falling 0.04% to 19,371.46 points.
Global oil markets were also active following data from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks fell by a surprising 884,000 barrels last week against a market forecast of a 3.5 million build. The U.S. Energy information Agency will publish commercial crude stocks later Thursday with analysts expecting a gain of around 3.4 million barrels
WTI futures for April delivery were marked 0.8% higher at $54.04 per barrel while Brent contracts were changing hands at $56.30, a 1.7% gain from Wednesday's close.
In U.S. trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average enjoyed a massive winning streak with only small gains on Wednesday, shrugging off the chances of another rate hike come March.
The blue-chip index closed out Wednesday's session with its ninth straight day of record finishes. That marks its longest record-making streak in 30 years. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq weren't so fortunate, though, logging slight losses for the day after Tuesday's records.
The Dow rose 0.16% on Wednesday to close at 20,775. The S&P 500 fell 0.11% and the Nasdaq dropped 0.09%.