Fast Europe Open: ECB rates decsion, Ireland GDP

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The good news is oil prices have risen close to 1 per cent in Thursday Asia trade. The bad news is they fell 5 per cent the day prior.

International benchmark Brent crude was up 0.8 per cent at $53.54 a barrel in afternoon Asia trading, recovering only somewhat from its $2.81 fall yesterday, which saw it close at $53.11 a barrel after data showed US stockpiles had risen for a ninth straight month. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 0.6 per cent at $50.59 a barrel, having dropped 5.4 per cent the day prior to close at $50.28.

Oil-related stocks fell across Asia, with Hong Kong-listed China energy companies Sinopec and PetroChina down 3 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively, while Inpex Corp in Japan had slipped 1.4 per cent.

Asia Pacific stocks’ performance more generally was mixed. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index was headed into the close off 0.3 per cent, while Tokyo’s Topix was up 0.3 per cent and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng was down 1.1 per cent.

Futures tip the FTSE 100 index to drop 0.4 per cent at the open in London, while the S&P 500 is expected to start the trading day flat in New York.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Hugo Boss, Carrefour, Morrisons, Old Mutual, Domino’s, Countrywide, Premier Oil and Aviva.

The economic calendar for Thursday is starts late but ends strong (all times London):

  • 10.00: Greece unemployment rate
  • 11.00: Ireland Q4 GDP
  • 12.45: European Central Bank interest rates decision
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