Thursday February 25th

25-02-2016

Street eyes higher open amid oil dip

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday, shaking off sharp declines in Chinese stocks, as oil prices held above $30 a barrel. The Shanghai Composite in China closed 6.40 percent lower, while Japan's Nikkei closed up 1.41 percent. In Europe, the pan European Stoxx 600 Index was up by around 1.14 percent on Thursday morning. On the data front, jobless claims came in at 272,000. Durable goods orders for January rose 4.9 percent. The Federal Housing Finance Agency scheduled to release its home price index for December at 9:00 a.m. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, a voting member of the Fed, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" that he's not too concerned about a global recession but he does see a "lower trend growth rate." Separately, Bullard late Wednesday reiterated his opposition to further interest rate hikes given that U.S. inflation expectations have fallen and threaten the U.S. central bank's credibility. Elsewhere, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart reiterated Fed policy for rate hikes remains data dependent, according to StreetAccount. San Francisco Fed President John Williams is scheduled to give his outlook on the economy at 12 p.m. On the earnings front, Baidu, Gap, Intuit, Kraft Heinz and Weight Watchers are due to report after the bell. Oil prices fell on Thursday on concerns about oversupply amid a slowing global economy, although strong U.S. gasoline demand helped limit losses. The lack of any immediate action by the world's largest exporters to follow through on a proposal to freeze production at January's levels also continued to undermine the market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures briefly turned positive territory in early morning trade. They were down 35 cents at $31.80 per barrel at 8:16 a.m. ET (1316 GMT). Brent crude futures were down 33 cents at $34.08 a barrel. Gold rose on Thursday as the dollar edged lower and volatility in stock markets stoked demand including fresh buying of bullion funds. Spot gold was up 0.57 percent at $1,236.06 an ounce, heading for a third straight day of gains. The metal seems to have rediscovered its role as a shelter for risk-averse investors, rising 16 percent this year as global equities have tumbled and fears of a global economic slowdown increased. It hit a one-year high of $1,260.60 this month, further supported by the repricing of expectations for U.S. interest rate rises.