Here’s what’s shaking:
Stock futures are rising after a pair of U.S. companies opened the earnings season with a surprisingly strong start.
On Wall Street, stocks appeared headed for gains. Dow Jones industrial futures were up 0.1 percent at 13,278 and S&P 500 futures rose almost 0.1 percent to 1,452.60. U.S. markets were closed by the time Alcoa reported its results.
European stocks edged up in early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,073.32 while France’s CAC-40 rose almost 0.1 percent to 3,707.28.
In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.5 percent to 23,218.47 after a downturn in the prior session, with sentiment helped by gains in mainland Chinese shares.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index opened lower on a strengthening yen but reversed course as the currency slipped against the dollar. The benchmark in Tokyo gained 0.7 percent to close at 10,578.57.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 4,708.10. South Korea’s Kopsi was 0.3 percent lower at 1,991.20. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines rose. Indonesia and Malaysia fell. Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed.
The price of oil slipped to around $93 a barrel Wednesday as a report of rising U.S. crude supplies outweighed a forecast for higher demand this year from aluminum giant Alcoa.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for February delivery was down 9 cents to $93.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The previous day, the contract fell 4 cents to finish at $93.15 a barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute trade group said Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies grew by 2.4 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks increased by 7.9 million barrels.
Those figures were much higher than the expectations of analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos, who forecast a rise of 1.5 million barrels for crude oil and an increase of 2.6 million barrels in gasoline stocks.
The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration releases its crude inventories report – the market benchmark – later Wednesday.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was down 1 cent to $111.93 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images.