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(Kitco News) – Most world stock markets were firmer overnight, continuing to see upside support from generally upbeat corporate earnings reports. U.S. stock indexes hit record highs on Wednesday and are poised to move still higher when the New York day session begins.
Gold prices are lower in pre-U.S.-session trading today. Some mild profit taking from the shorter-term futures traders is featured after recent good gains in the yellow metal.
In overnight news, the Bank of Japan at its latest monetary policy meeting Thursday scaled back its inflation expectations to suggest its easy-money policies can remain in place longer.
The European Central Bank is meeting Thursday. The marketplace is awaiting the ECB's stance on future monetary policy for the Euro zone. ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference will be the highlight of the ECB meeting.
The important "outside markets" on Thursday morning see Nymex crude oil futures near steady and trading around $47.00 a barrel. Recent upside price action suggests a market bottom is in place for oil. My bias is that crude oil prices will be trapped in a choppy trading range between $40 and $50 a barrel in the coming months. The U.S. dollar index is higher on a corrective bounce from recent selling pressure that pushed the index to a 10-month low on Wednesday. The greenback bears remain in firm near-term technical command.
U.S. economic data due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, the Philadelphia Fed business survey and leading economic indicators.