(Kitco News) - World stock markets were mostly firmer overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly higher openings when the New York day session begins.
Gold prices are lower in pre-U.S. session trading, after rallying to its highest level in a month Wednesday.
In overnight news, China saw some downbeat economic data Thursday. The unofficial China manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) came in at 49.6 in May versus the forecasts for a reading of 50.1. Meantime, the Eurozone May manufacturing PMI came in at 57.0, which was right in line with market expectations.
The important "outside markets" on Thursday morning find Nymex crude oil futures prices near steady. The oil market bears have regained downside momentum this week and the bears have the overall near-term technical advantage. Meantime, the U.S. dollar index is higher today. The greenback bears are still in near-term technical control as dollar index prices are in a nearly three-month-old downtrend.
Traders and investors are looking forward to Friday's U.S. employment report for May from the Labor Department. That report is arguably the most important U.S. economic data point of the month. The key non-farm payrolls number for May is forecast to come in at up around 210,000.
It's a very busy day for U.S. economic data releases Thursday. Reports include the weekly jobless claims report, the Challenger job cuts report, the ADP national employment report, the U.S. manufacturing PMI, construction spending, the ISM manufacturing report on business, the global manufacturing PMI, the weekly DOE liquid energy stocks report, monthly chain store sales, and domestic auto industry sales.