Thursday June 7th


US stocks set for a positive open after Wednesday's sharp rally

U.S. stock index futures rose ahead of the open on Thursday, building on strong gains seein in the previous session. Around 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 75 points, indicating a higher open of 71.61 points. Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 futures also indicated a solid start to the session for their respective markets. The moves in premarket trade followed a strong session Wednesday with the Dow closing 346.41 points higher. The move was supported by bank stocks that surged on expectations of an end to easy money in Europe and of higher interest rates. In international markets, the overall sentiment Thursday was also supported by expectations of a tighter monetary policy. U.S. shares are also set to trade on key data releases. Initial jobless claims fell slightly in early June, keeping the rate of layoffs in the U.S. near a 50-year low. New claims dipped by 1,000 to 222,000 in the seven days ended June 2. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 225,000 reading. The more stable monthly average of new claims rose by 2,750 to 225,500, the government said. Consumer credit numbers out at 3 p.m. ET. Elsewhere, any developments surrounding talks between the U.S. and North Korea will continue to keep investors on edge, as a summit between the two nations draws closer. Traders will also monitor comments at a G-7 summit. Asian shares closed higher on Thursday, with Japan leading gains in the region. That followed moves higher on Wall Street in the last session, which saw the Dow Jones industrial average close above 25,000. The Nikkei 225 advanced 0.87 percent, or 197.53 points, to close at 22,823.26. South Korean stocks also gained, with the benchmark Kospi closing up 0.69 percent at 2,470.58. Greater China markets ended the day mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tacked on 0.65 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN, driven by gains in heavily weighted financials. On the mainland, the Shanghai compositeclosed lower by 0.2 percent at 3,108.98 and the smaller Shenzhen composite declined 0.63 percent to 1,767.96.  Oil prices rose on Thursday on concerns about a plunge in exports from Venezuela, helping to lower the odds of another weekly loss for crude futures. Brent crude futures were up 83 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $76.19 a barrel by 8:40 a.m. ET (1240 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 58 cents, or nearly 1 percent, at $65.31 a barrel. A weaker dollar helped to push gold prices higher on Thursday, but gains were limited as the market waited for clues on the pace of U.S. interest rate increases from a meeting of the Federal Reserve next week. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,298.26 an ounce by 1053 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for August delivery firmed by 0.1 percent to $1,302.40.