Stock futures opened slightly to the upside Wednesday evening as investors awaited more earnings and data on the labor market's recovery.
Asian shares held on to recent gains in morning trading on Thursday, despite hawkish remarks from a senior official at the U.S. Federal Reserve, that boosted the dollar while weighing on risk appetite, and uncertainty about Chinese policy. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.22%, and Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.32%. Australia gained 0.18%, Chinese blue chips fell 0.28% and Hong Kong advanced 0.45%.
Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by tensions in the Middle East, but failed to regain most of the previous day's losses after a surprise build in crude stockpiles in the United States, the world's top oil consumer. Brent crude oil futures rose by 14 cents, or 0.2%, to $70.52 a barrel by 0132 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by 18 cents, or 0.3%, to $68.33 a barrel. Israeli aircraft struck what its military said were rocket launch sites in south Lebanon early on Thursday in response to earlier projectile fire towards Israel from Lebanese territory.