European stocks are set for a mixed open Thursday, with U.S. equity futures also poised for a rebound, as a tech sector sell-off ripples through global markets but hasn't yet snuff out the broader bullish rally.
Britain's FTSE 100 is likely to slip around 20 points, or 0.25%, at the opening bell, according to financial bookmakers IG, with gains once again held down by a firmer pound, which traded firmly past a two month high against the U.S. dollar at 1.3462 into the start of London deal. Continental markets are set for modest gains to start the session, with investors likely focused again on bank and financial sector shares after Swiss lender Credit Suisse AG (CS) unveiled plans to boost shareholder returns as part of its annual investor day.
Early indications from Wall Street futures suggest a rebound from Wednesday's tech-led wobble, which saw the Nasdaq falling 1.27% amid sharp declines for Apple, Alphabet and Netflix. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were marked 40 points higher into the start of European trading while those linked to the S&P 500 were 1.25 points, or 0.05%, into the green.
Much of the sector's weakness was linked to a warning from investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS) earlier this week after it reduced its rating on Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) , the world's biggest chipmaker, to 'equal weight' from 'overweight' and cautioned that the memory chip sector's so-called "super cycle" is close to peaking, noting "downside risk as NAND prices have started to reverse" and "visibility on DRAM supply-demand dynamics has reduced" into next year.
Overnight in Asia, tech sector weakness hit the broadest measure of share prices in the region hard, pulling the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index 0.8% lower even as the Nikkei 225 clawed out a 0.57% gain to close at a three-week high of 22,724.96 points.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, traded modestly lower from Wednesday's levels at 93.17, although investors are set to react quickly to any indication that U.S. lawmakers will vote on -- and pass -- tax reform proposals later this week.
Global oil prices were also active ahead of Thursday's summit of OPEC leaders, as well as non-member producers, in Vienna, with investors continuing to bet on some sort of agreement that will extend the cartel's production cuts, which are taking 1.8 million barrels of oil from the market each day, past the current March deadline and into the end of the year.
Brent crude future contracts for January deliver, the global benchmark for prices, were marked 20 cents higher at $67.75 while WTI contracts for the same month were seen 11 cents higher from their Wednesday close at $57.41.
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