European markets are trading lower on Thursday as investors remain reluctant to make any daring moves ahead of the forthcoming Greek national elections and in the wake of Moody's Investors Service downgrading Spain's credit rating by three notches to just one above junk status. Moreover, Moody's also downgraded the sovereign debt rating for Cyprus due to its exposure to Greece.
Asian markets are also down on Thursday upon word that Spain's downgrade. .
Spain's bond yields have hit fresh euro highs thanks to the Moody's credit downgrade. Italian debt yields have also climbed higher ahead of a key bond auction. The asking yield on the Spanish 10-year benchmark bond traded at 7.01 per cent, while the Italian 10-year was quoted higher at 6.34 per cent.
Prior to the TSX open, here's what you should know:
*U.S. futures point to a flat open following the spike in Spanish and Italian bond yields and due to weak economic data released on Wednesday.
*Oil fell below US$83 a barrel Thursday ahead of an OPEC policy meeting. Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 15 cents to $82.77 per barrel. Brent crude for July delivery was up 23 cents at $96.95 per barrel.
*Gold prices are holding steady. Spot gold was trading at $1,618.10 an ounce. The U.S. gold futures contract for August delivery was nearly flat at $1,619.
*Three reports from Statistics Canada are due today: Industry capacity utilization rates for the first quarter of 2012, the New Housing Price Index for April, and a Perspectives on Labour and Income for June will be released.
*On the U.S. economic data calendar for Thursday, investors will be eyeing the Consumer Price Index, a jobless claims report, and a current account report measuring the U.S.'s international trade balance in goods, services, and unilateral transfers on a quarterly basis.