Investing.com – Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday as investors looked ahead to a string of key economic data and kept their eyes on developments in Texas.
The S&P 500 logged its fourth day of gains in the prior session, the longest winning streak since a seven-day run at the end of May.
As futures pointed to a fifth day of gains for the primary global benchmark, market players looked ahead to a key batch of U.S. economic data to further gauge the strength of the world's largest economy and how it will impact the Federal Reserve's view on monetary policy.
The U.S. is to release reports on personal income and consumer spending for July, which include the personal consumption expenditures inflation data, the Fed's preferred metric for inflation, at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT).
While waiting for the data, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.28% to 93.09 by 6:58AM ET (10:58GMT), extending a recovery from a 2-1/2-year low of 91.55 touched on Tuesday.
In foreign data supporting investor sentiment on Thursday, China’s official purchasing managers' index showed that growth in its manufacturing sectorunexpectedly accelerated in August, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still expanding at a healthy clip.
Additionally, investors continued to evaluate the damage caused by Harvey in Texas and attempted to ascertain the impact on the U.S. economy and energy markets.
Tropical Depression Harvey, as the storm is now categorized, weakened as it moved inland over Louisiana on Thursday, leaving behind record flooding.
The storm is predicted to be one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history and will undoubtedly present the Trump administration with massive humanitarian and rebuilding challenges.
That was the first time since July 2015 that a front-run contract climbed above the $2 handle, as flooding from Harvey knocked out almost a quarter of U.S. refineries and prompted fears of a supply squeeze.
Meanwhile, oil prices managed to rebound on Thursday after registering losses all week from worries over the decrease in demand caused by Harvey.
Closed refineries are one of crude oil’s biggest buyers, and according to calculations from Goldman Sachs, the closures mean that approximately 3 million barrels a day are not refined into gasoline and other products, far more than the drop in oil production itself.
Elsewhere, European stocks reflected positive risk appetite, with almost all major bourses across the region in positive territory. At 7:03AM ET (11:03GMT), the European benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.71%, Germany’s DAX rose 0.52% while London's FTSE 100 traded up 0.56%.
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