U.S. stock futures are positive in early trading on news that the Obama administration may temporarily cut payroll taxes for businesses to spur hiring. The news comes ahead of a report on jobless claims, as investors hope to avoid another disappointing economic data point weighing against the U.S. recovery.

Asian stocks extended their downtrend with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index falling 0.4% on the session. The benchmark was dragged lower by Nintendo, down 4% after a

UBS

(UBS) - Get Report

downgrade,

Tokyo Electric Power

, down 4% and weakness in leading exporters like

Li & Fung

and

Samsung

.

Meanwhile, the Euro currency strengthened against the U.S. dollar, on reports that the European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet threatened to raise interest rates after German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaueble, suggested bondholders take a hit in any new bailout of Greece. The Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark is flat on the session.

Strong Euro and weak U.S. dollar gave the precious metals a push with silver futures gaining 1.2%, the

iShares Silver Trust ETF

(ETF)

up 0.5%, while gold futures and the

SPDR Gold Trust ETF

(GLD) - Get Report

remain flat. Crude oil rallies for a third straight day, after OPEC failed to agree on an output quota for the first time in 20 years, possibly limiting supply as U.S. inventories fell more than forecasts.

Oil stocks have demonstrated relative strength with the

Oil Service HOLDRS ETF

(OIH) - Get Report

holding support for a third straight day at $147, while the

SPDR S&P 500 ETF

(SPY) - Get Report

made lower lows this week. The contrast is even more drastic against other industry ETFs such as the

Retail HOLDRS

(RTH) - Get Report

and the

iShares Dow Jones Transport Average

(IYT) - Get Report

, all making lower lows this week.

The

Semiconductor HOLDRS ETF

(SMH) - Get Report

, also making lower lowers this week, could be under additional pressure after

Texas Instruments

pre-announced disappointing earnings and lowered guidance. The

Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF

(XLF) - Get Report

fell in sympathy with

Visa

(V) - Get Report

,

Mastercard

(MA) - Get Report

and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

as they sold off after the U.S. Senate rejected a delay of the Fed's debit-card swipe fee caps. Meanwhile, retailers were led lower by

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

.

Chinese internet stocks are positive in pre-market trading after another day of double digit losses by

Sina

(SINA) - Get Report

,

Renren

(RENN) - Get Report

and

Youku

(YOKU)

.

Baidu

(BIDU) - Get Report

also broke down below Tuesday's lows as it approaches support at $120. Large-cap tech stocks like

Netflix

(NFLX) - Get Report

and

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

initially sold off, but rebounded later in the day.

Disclosures: Scott Redler has no positions.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.