European stocks ticked higher on Thursday driven by upbeat corporate earnings from the likes of IBM and ongoing expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will inject another round of stimulus into the American economy. The Eurozone debt crisis will return to focus; however, as Spain conducts a crucial two-, five-, and seven-year bond auction.
In Asia, strong corporate earnings and better-than-expected housing data stateside also propelled markets, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 benefitting the most. Rising two per cent, the index experienced its biggest one-day increase since early January. Traders are also speculating that China will enact more monetary stimulus to help spur growth in its economy.
Prior to the TSX open, here's what you should know:
*U.S. futures point to a higher open ahead of Morgan Stanley's earnings report. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 57 points to 12,917.00 and S&P 500 index futures rose 5.20 points to 1,372.50. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 15 points to 2,635.00.
*The price of oil has shot upwards, rising above $106 per barrel due to tensions in the Middle East. Brent crude gained for a seventh straight day, rising $1.33 to $106.49 a barrel while U.S. oil gained 98 cents to $90.85.
*Gold prices also edged up on Thursday though European worries persist. Spot gold gained 0.4 per cent to $1,578.05 an ounce. U.S. gold futures contract for August delivery inched up half a percent to $1,578.
*The Canadian dollar was up 0.18 of a cent at close on Wednesday to trade at 98.84 cents US.
*A raft of data is scheduled for release on the U.S. economic data calendar Thursday including weekly jobless claims, existing home sales data for June, the Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey for July, and the Conference Board's leading indicators report is due.