European stocks opened higher in their first post-Christmas trading session Wednesday, with Wall Street futures also firmer as investors focused on both a sharp rally in global commodities overnight and the ongoing impact of recent U.S. tax cuts.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index, the region's broadest measure of share prices, was marked 0.15% higher in the opening minutes of trading, although benchmarks in Britain and Germany edged modestly higher thanks to rising energy and mining stocks on the FTSE 100 and stronger automakers on the DAX performance index.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures suggest a modestly stronger open for stocks on Wall Street, as well, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average marked 4 points, or 0.02% higher from their Tuesday close while those tied to the broader S&P 500 were seen w.25 points, or 0.08%, to the upside.
Global stocks have been notably influenced by a strong rally in commodity prices, however, in overnight Asia trading, with both copper and oil prices testing multi-year highs following stronger-than-expected import data this week from China that suggested a robust start to 2018 growth. Copper prices gained for the ninth consecutive session to a three-and-a-half year high of $7,201 per tonne.
Oil prices have also been boosted by an outage in Libya that is taking around 90,000 barrels of crude from the market following an attack by militants on the Es Sider sea terminal on Tuesday, also prices eased somewhat overnight thanks to the ongoing return to full capacity of the Forties System pipeline in the North Sea.
Brent crude futures for February delivery were marked around 0.32% lower at $66.80 while WTI contacts for the same month were seen 0.28% lower at $59.80 after topping $60 a barrel for the first time since mid-2015 in Tuesday trading.
Asia markets, however, were only modestly stronger in overnight trading, with the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index edging 0.07% higher into the close while the Nikkei 225 added 0.08% to end the session at 22,911.21 points.