TOKYO (AP) — Global markets were higher Thursday, tracking solid overnight gains on Wall Street despite lingering concerns about the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and trade tensions between Asia and the U.S.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 added nearly 0.1 percent in early trading to 5,539.46. Germany’s DAX edged up 0.6 percent to 13,019.58. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent to 7,671.16. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures rising 0.1 percent at 24,533. S&P 500 futures were also up, gaining 0.2 percent at 2,701.20.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.4 percent to close at 22,497.18. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 6,118.70 while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,464.16. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up nearly 1.0 percent to 30,809.22 and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.5 percent to 3,174.41. Shares were higher in most other markets apart from Singapore.
THE QUOTE: “Markets are trading within a range bound by a number of factors. Rising yields, a strengthening dollar and some geopolitical uncertainty aren’t allowing it to run its own race. This is causing investors to tread with caution,” Oriano Lizza, sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore, said in a commentary
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 62 cents to $71.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed $2.08, or 3 percent, to $71.14 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 66 cents to $77.87 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 109.91 yen from 109.65 on Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.1859 from $1.1877.
– Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, May 10:
1. All Eyes on U.S. Inflation Data
Thursday’s calendar features the biggest economic data point of the week.
The Commerce Department will publish April inflation figures at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT), with traders watching to see if the data will run hotter-than-expected.
Market analysts expect consumer prices to rise 2.5% on a year-over-year basis, up from 2.4% in March.
Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel, is projected to climb 2.2%, a tad faster than the 2.1%-gain recorded in the preceding month.
Core prices are viewed by the Federal Reserve as a better gauge of longer-term inflationary pressure because they exclude the volatile food and energy categories.
A jump in inflation could be a sign that the Fed would have to raise interest rates more rapidly if it begins to run above its 2% target.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was slightly lower at 92.80, pulling back from Wednesday’s four-and-a-half month high of 93.26.
In the bond market, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield inched down to 2.98%, after rising above the key 3% level on Wednesday.
2. Nvidia Reports Earnings
The graphics-chipmaker is expected to report earnings per share of $1.56 on revenue of $2.82 billion, according to estimates.
Investors will likely be particularly interested in news related to future prospects for graphics processors in data centers and the gaming segment, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrency mining.
Shares of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company were trading at an all-time high of $257.50 in premarket trade.
3. Oil Prices Notch Another 3-1/2-Year High
Oil prices continued higher, notching another three-and-a-half-year peak as escalating geopolitical tensions between Israel and Iran cast further uncertainty about supply disruptions from the region.
Brent crude futures at one point touched their highest since November 2014 at $78.00 per barrel. It was last at $77.72, up 51 cents, or around 0.7%.
Meanwhile, New York-traded WTI crude futures tacked on 50 cents, or 0.7%, to $71.64 a barrel, after reaching $71.89 earlier in the session, also highs last seen in late 2014.
Fresh highs for oil came after Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights, Israel said, prompting one of the heaviest Israeli barrages in Syria since the conflict there began in 2011.
Worries about Iran, including its nuclear deal with major world powers, have been key to oil’s recent rally to late-2014 levels.
4. U.S. Stock Futures Point To Positive Open
U.S. stock futures pointed to a positive open, as markets awaited a fresh batch of economic data and corporate earnings, while eying movements in the oil space.
At around 5:30AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 35 points, or about 0.15%, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 5 points, or around 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 13 points, or roughly 0.2%.
The moves in premarket trade came after U.S. stocks finished the previous session nearly 1% higher, as surging oil prices boosted energy stocks.
Elsewhere, in Europe, the continent’s major bourses were mostly higher in mid-morning trade, with banks leading the charge up after Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) agreed to smaller-than-expected settlement with the U.S.
Earlier, in Asia, markets in the region closed higher, buoyed by the strong overnight lead from Wall Street.
5. Bank Of England ‘Super Thursday’
The Bank of England (BoE) will announce its rate decision at 1100GMT (7:00AM ET), with market expectations now overwhelmingly in favor of interest rates being held at the current 0.5% rate.
Interest rate bets have swung around sharply from early-April when investors priced a 90% chance of the BoE raising rates by 25 basis points.
But a spate of weak economic data is almost certain to stay the BoE’s hand, which might now struggle to convince investors that it will raise borrowing costs at all this year.
BoE Governor Mark Carney will hold a press conference shortly after the announcement, and investors will monitor his language for signals on what the appetite is for hikes further out in 2018.
The British pound was a shade higher against the dollar at 1.3565, staying within sight of Tuesday’s four-month lows of 1.3483.
More dovish remarks from the BoE could send the currency even lower.