Morning Wire -- US Stock-Index Futures Higher

US index futures are higher this morning as investors await a report on February’s US durable goods orders. Economists are expecting a gain of 2.9%, following a drop of 3.7% in January. Also this morning the EIA’s report on crude oil inventories is expected to show an increase of about 2.75 million barrels. In Europe, mining stocks are getting hit on lower commodity prices. In Asia, investors continue to react to yesterday’s report that profits at Chinese industrial companies fell -5.2% in the first two months of the year. Rumors of a crude oil release from several nations’ strategic reserves is weighing down crude prices this morning.

At about 8:15 a.m. ET, Germany’s DAX is down -0.16% at 7,067.60 and France’s CAC 40 is flat, at 3,469.43. In London, the FTSE 100 is down -0.06%, at 5,866.25.

In Asia, the Hang Seng index closed down -0.77%, at 20,885.40. The Nikkei closed down -0.71% at 10,182.60 and the Shanghai exchange closed down -2.65%, at 2,284.88.

Dow futures are up 0.20%, at 13,150.00. The Nasdaq is up 0.19%, at 2,781.00 and the S&P is up 0.19%, at 1,409.10.

In the currency markets, the US dollar is weaker against the euro and the Japanese yen, and stronger against the British pound. The US dollar index is up 0.01% at 79.051.

In commodities, WTI and Brent crude are lower this morning, with WTI down -0.95% at $106.31/barrel and Brent is down -1% at $124.28/barrel. Gold is down -0.57% this morning, at $1,678.00/ounce.

Paul Ausick