Wall Street futures rebounded Friday, pointing to a run towards new all-time highs Friday following a record-setting session in Asia and strong early gains for European stocks even as investors grow increasingly concerned that the federal government will be forced into a shutdown at midnight tonight unless lawmakers can agree an eleventh hour agreement on funding.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution late Thursday that would continue funding the federal government until Feb. 16, but it is unlikely to pass the Senate in it current form, setting up a battle between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over immigration protections for the so-called "Dreamers" and spending on President Donald Trump's promised border wall.
That political risk backdrop played on both the U.S. dollar and Treasury bond yields overnight, pushing the dollar index to fresh three-year lows of 90.23 against a basket of six global currencies before paring the decline to 90.39 and lifting benchmark 10-year Treasury yields to a September 2014 high of 2.64%.
The dollar's decline pushed U.S. equity futures into the green in European trading, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked 98 points higher than their Thursday close and those tied to the broader S&P 500 rising 8.5 points to the upside.
The Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark was marked 0.44% higher in the opening hour Friday, lifting the region's broadest measure of share prices to an all-time intraday high of 401.04 points thanks to firmer gains for the DAX performance index in Germany and the CAC-40 in France.
In Britain, the FTSE 100 was 0.26% from its Thursday close at the opening bell, held down by both softer oil and retail stocks and this week's renewed surge in the pound, which has taken sterling 1.4% higher against the greenback to a June 2016 high of 1.3933 before paring the gain to around 1.3903 after much weaker-than-expected December retails sale data, which a 1.6% year-on-year plunge as shoppers shifted purchases to November's Black Friday bargains.
Overnight in Asia, stocks were able to shrug off the weaker U.S. dollar and the slipping of benchmarks on Wall Street to reach another record high in the Friday session as investors lifted stocks in the wake of stronger-than-expected GDP data from China yesterday and a melting of the political tensions between North and South Korea.
The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.41% higher at 598.32 points into the close of the session, taking its weekly gain to 1.25%, a move that included three all-time highs over the past five days. Japan's Nikkei 225 also closed 0.2% to the upside, despite the week's long gains for the yen, taking the benchmark to a five-day advance of 0.7%.
The big overnight mover away from stocks, however, occurred in global oil markets, where prices for both WTI and Brent crude fell sharply following data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration which showed domestic oil output recovered to a rate of 9.75 million barrels per day last week, a figure that offset a larger-than-expected 6.9 million barrel decline in crude inventories.
Brent crude contracts for March delivery were seen 0.58% lower at $68.91 per barrel in early European trading while WTI contracts for the same month were marked 0.75% lower at $63.36 per barrel.
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