US index futures are higher this morning as expectations are high for good earnings reports due today. The weekly report on new claims for unemployment benefits will be out this morning, as will the latest producer price index. In Europe, yields on Italian 3-year bonds rose and data on Eurozone production came in a little better than expected in February, but the annual decline was a little worse. In Asia, the World Bank lowered its forecast for Chinese economic growth in 2012, from 8.4% to 8.2%, in a move that traders think increases the possibility of more easing in China.
At about 8:15 a.m. ET, Germany’s DAX is up 0.58% at 6,713.34 and France’s CAC 40 is up 0.03% at 3,238.55. In London, the FTSE 100 is down -0.03%, at 5,633.25.
In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 0.70% at 9,524.79. The Hang Seng index closed up 0.93% at 20,327.30 and Shanghai closed up 1.82% at 2,350.86.
Dow futures are up 0.46%, at 12,803.00. The Nasdaq is up 0.60%, at 2,720.50 and the S&P is up 0.56%, at 1,371.60.
In the currency markets, the US dollar is weaker against the euro and and the British pound, but stronger versus the Japanese yen. The US dollar index is down -0.39% at 79.484.
In commodities, WTI and Brent crude are mixed this morning, with WTI up 0.54% at $103.25/barrel and Brent is down -0.10% at $120.06/barrel. Gold is down -0.33% this morning, at $1,654.80/ounce.