U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday, as better-than-expected Chinese growth data buoyed sentiment ahead of eagerly awaited congressional testimony by the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 52 points to 12,465 and those on the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index gained 6.50 points to 1,317.20. Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 15.50 points to 2,360. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.2 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 1.5 per cent.
In Europe, stocks swung between gains and losses. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was marginally lower in midday trading. The blue-chip Dow index dropped 0.5 per cent Tuesday after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Ireland’s credit rating to junk status, adding to worries about the debt crisis in Europe. The European Commission has described Moody’s decision to downgrade Ireland’s debt to junk status as ‘incomprehensible’.
Italian and Spanish bond prices rose Wednesday and the cost of insuring European sovereign debt fell, ahead of a key auction of Italian bonds today, on hopes that a solution to the Greek debt crisis would soon be within reach. Italian 10-year government bond yields fell 12 basis points to 5.434 per cent, while yields on Spanish 10-year bonds dropped 15 basis points to 5.685 per cent, according to Tradeweb.
In the currency markets, the euro rose 0.6 per cent to USD 1.4059. The dollar index which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, dropped 0.5 per cent to 75.675.
Meanwhile, gold futures continued their advance after posting a nominal settlement record on Tuesday. Gold for August delivery rose from USD 11.80 to USD 1,574.10 an ounce in electronic trading on Globex. Crude oil for August delivery slipped 1 cent to USD 7.42 a barrel.
(With reports from The Wall Street Journal, Market Watch)