Weak Chinese and German manufacturing data and disappointment at the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to refrain from injecting fresh stimulus measures into the world's largest economy was enough to grease the skids for European stocks to slip on Thursday.
Asian markets are also mostly lower on Thursday over the Fed's decision to extend its Operation Twist program rather than embark upon QE3 (quantitative easing, third round). The less-than-inspiring figures produced by China's June manufacturing data also weighed on sentiment.
Prior to the TSX open, here's what you should know:
*U.S. futures point to a lower open with futures for the S&P 500 down 0.3 per cent, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures off 0.4 per cent and Nasdaq 100 futures 0.4 per cent lower.
*Oil has sank to a new eight-month low, falling below US$80 a barrel on Thursday after the U.S. central bank balked at implementing QE3. Benchmark oil for August delivery was down $1.40 to $80.05 a barrel while Brent crude for August delivery was down $1.61 at $91.18 per barrel.
*Falling for a third straight day gold prices dropped $4.48 an ounce to US$1,600.90. U.S. gold for August delivery fell more than 1 per cent to $1,601.80.
*The Canadian dollar closed Wednesday down 0.10¢ to trade at 98.12¢ US.
*On Thursday, Statistics Canada will release its Retail Trade and Employment Insurance for April 2012 reports.
*On the U.S. economic data calendar for Thursday, investors await the PMI Manufacturing Index Flash, Existing Home Sales, and U.S. weekly jobless claims. The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index and the Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey is also due.