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Stocks - U.S. Futures Edge Higher Despite Europe Gloom

Investing.com -- U.S. futures pointed to a slightly higher opening Thursday as gloomy economic data from Europe damped the momentum from some encouraging U.S. earnings reports on Wednesday.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 16 points, or 0.1% 6:49 AM ET (11:49 GMT), the S&P 500 futures rose 4 points, or 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 31 points, or 0.5%.

The U.S. market will later see earnings updates from, among others, Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) ahead of the opening, and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) after the closing bell.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) earlier reported a decline in fourth-quarter profit as a result of the partial shutdown of the federal government, and said the shutdown has continued to hit revenue this month.

Earlier Thursday, Markit’s purchasing managers’ indexes for January showed German manufacturing contracted for the first time in four years in January, while France’s economy also slowed under the impact of protest by the ‘gilets jaunes’ movement against President Emmanuel Macron.

The euro fell against the dollar following the news, as traders speculated that the European Central Bank may push back the timing of its first interest rate hike in a decade.

UBS Chairman and former German central bank chief Axel Weber told the World Economic Forum in Davos Wednesday that he didn’t think the ECB would manage to ‘normalize’ monetary policy in the current cycle.

European stocks were mostly higher, with the tech sector rising sharply after a strong update from chipmaker STMicroelectronics (PA:STM). Earlier, markets in Asia closed mostly higher, following Wall Street’s lead.

Away from the equities market, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rival currencies, rose 0.4% to 96.11, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury gained 2 basis points to 2.73%.

In commodities, gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1,278.25 a troy ounce, while crude oil lost 0.4% to $52.42 a barrel.

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