The Dow Jones Industrial Average looks set to open at a all-time high Thursday, and could immediately test the 25,000 point mark following solid gains in Europe and Asia amid a renewed charge in the global equity market rally that continues to test records for high prices and low volatility.
Early indications from U.S. equity futures suggest the real possibility of the Dow crossing the 25K barrier today after another record close -- at 24,922,88 points -- with contracts tied to the benchmark trading 90 points to the upside and those linked to the broader S&P 500 marked 5 points, or 0.2%, into the green. Interestingly, despite the consistent upward moves in global stocks, the benchmark measure of market volatility, the CBOE's Volatility Index, commonly known a the VIX, ended trading Wednesday at 9.15 points, just a whisper above the all-time low touched on Nov. 3.
The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.3% lower at 91.88 heading into the trading session as investors pared holdings following last night's release of minutes from the Fed's December policy meeting and increasing questions of the fate of the central bank's rate hike path.
Many of those questions will be addressed over the coming days with private payroll data from ADP today and the December employment report from the Commerce Department on Friday.
Two notable pre-market movers in the Thursday session include Tesla Motor Co. TSLA, which fell more than 3% after the luxury clean-energy carmaker cautioned that deliveries of its flagship Model 3 will fall significantly short of estimates, and Snap Inc. (SNAP) , which slumped 3.5% after the social messaging app was downgraded to "underperform" by research group Cowen & Co.
In Europe, benchmarks around the region booked solid early gains, with the DAX performance index in Germany rising 0.98% to top the 13,100 point mark for the first time since Dec. 21. The region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 index, the broadest measure of share prices, was marked 0.52% higher at 392.33, the highest since Nov. 8.
Britain's FTSE 100 trailed slightly, with an advance of around 0.12%, as the benchmark was held down by slumping domestic consumer and financial stocks. A modest rebound in the U.S. dollar index has eased some of the recent gains for both the euro, which was marked at 1.2034, and the pound, which changed hands at 1.3526 in early London trading.
Overnight in Asia, investors returned from the traditional spate of January holidays in Japan to play catch up with a global market rally that set another all-time record for equity valuations Thursday, lifting the benchmark Nikkei 225 by 3.26% to a closing level of 23,506.33 points - the highest since 1991.
The broadest measure of shares in the region, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index, was marked 0.26% higher into the close of the session, coming once again within touching distance of both ten-year and all-time highs amid extended bets of the health of China's surging economy and trade in the wider Pacific rim.
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