Morning Wire -- US Stock-Index Futures Up Slightly

US stock-index futures are slightly higher this morning following the lead of Asia’s markets which closed the last trading day of the year in positive territory. For the full year, though, Asian equities finished with a loss: the Nikkei was down -17%, the Hang Seng was down -20%, and Shanghai was down nearly -22%.

Going into the last trading day of the year in the US, the DJIA shows a gain of 5.8% for the year and the S&P 500 is up a mere 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite is down -1.7% for the full year to date.

The European sovereign debt crisis has tormented global markets for virtually the entire year, and while the Eurozone has made some progress addressing the issues, Europe’s debt crisis is likely to continue roiling markets in 2012.

At about 7:40 a.m. ET, Germany’s DAX is up 0.27% at 5,864.74 and France’s CAC 40 is up 0.22%, at 3,134.33. In London, the FTSE 100 is up 0.14%, at 5,574.39.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 0.2%, at 18,434.40. The Nikkei index closed up 0.67%, at 8,455.35, and the Shanghai index closed up 1.19%, at 2,199.42.

Dow futures are up 0.09%, at 12,228.00. The Nasdaq 100 is up 0.15%, at 2,280.75 and the S&P is up 0.19%, at 1,259.80.

In the currency markets, the US dollar is slightly stronger against the euro and weaker against the British pound and the Japanese yen. The US dollar index is down about -0.06% at 80.37.

In commodities, both WTI and Brent crude are slightly lower this morning, with WTI at $99.44/barrel and Brent at $107.24/barrel. Gold is making a comeback this morning, up 1.8% at $1,568.60/ounce.

Paul Ausick