PARIS, April 4 U.S. stock index futures pointed
to a higher open on Wall Street on Thursday, with futures for
the S&P 500 up 0.51 percent, Dow Jones up 0.43
percent and Nasdaq 100 up 0.44 percent at 0923 GMT.
* European stocks dipped in morning trade, adding to the
previous session's sharp losses as grim data rattled investors
ahead of the European Central Bank's interest rate decision and
* Markit's Services PMI showed the euro zone's economic
decline dragged on through March, marked by a huge drop in
French business activity that outstripped downturns in Spain and
* Losses in European stocks were cushioned, however, by
expectations that central banks around the world will stick with
loose monetary policies, offering abundant liquidity to support
the global economic recovery.
* The Bank of Japan shocked markets on Thursday with a
radical overhaul of its policymaking, adopting a new balance
sheet target and pledging to double its government bond holdings
in two years as it seeks to end nearly two decades of deflation.
The news sent the dollar climbing 2 percent against the yen.
* In Europe, investors awaited interest rate decisions from
the ECB and the Bank of England. Both central banks are set to
keep rates on hold, and investors will be looking for any signs
that the ECB is preparing a cut in the coming months to help
kickstart the euro zone economy.
* The Federal Reserve has room to keep buying bonds to
support the U.S. economic recovery because inflation remains
low, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Wednesday.
* On the economic front on Thursday, investors awaited
weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT. Economists in a Reuters
survey forecast a total of 350,000 new filings compared with
357,000 in the prior week.
* U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 index
posting its biggest daily decline in more than a month, after a
weaker-than-expected survey of private employers raised concerns
about the strength of the economy.
* The Dow Jones industrial average was down 111.66
points, or 0.76 percent, at 14,550.35. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index fell 16.56 points, or 1.05 percent, to 1,553.69.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 36.26 points, or
1.11 percent, at 3,218.60.