Oil Looks to Lead U.S. Stock Markets Higher Today

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The U.S. futures are indicating that the stock market is gearing up for a higher opening today, in line with its Asian and European counterparts. The key economic event lined up for the day is manufacturing PMI data for February, which will be released later in the day.

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Economic Activity

A majority of market participants are expecting the PMI index to dip to a reading of 52.3 in February from 52.4 in January. Apart from this, the upward swing in oil prices will remain a major driver for the markets.

Crude registered a sharp rebound today after a decline in the U.S. rig count was reported. According to data revealed by Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), the U.S. oil rig count has hit its lowest level since December 2009. The substantial decline in oil rigs suggests that output from the U.S. will be reduced in the coming weeks and months, which will ease the oil glut somewhat, at least domestically. The report sent Brent crud oil back to levels near $34 barrels.

Eurozone Goes Deeper Into Deflation

In Europe, business activity recorded its slowest growth pace in the last year, indicating that deflationary pressures remain. A Markit report noted that the Flash Euro-Zone Composite Output Index fell to 52.7 in February from 53.6 in January, the lowest in the last 13 months. The reading failed to match analyst expectations of 53.3.

Additionally, the Eurozone is also recovering from the shock of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s declaration to back a Brexit campaign, which would mean Britain’s exit from the European Union. Johnson launched the campaign at a time when Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a referendum to vote in June and is supporting the idea of continuing in the EU. Johnson’s decision has started a strong sell-off in Sterling, which suffered its biggest fall since May 2010.

Around these developments, the S&P 500 Futures traded 1.08% up at 1,934.75 while Nasdaq Futures rose 1.15% to 4,209.38 during the early session.

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