MARKET SNAPSHOT: Wall Street Eyes Upbeat Session As Rising Oil Prices Lead Energy Stocks Higher

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Weekly jobless claims are on deck later in the morning

U.S. stocks were set for small gains at the open on Thursday, with energy stocks driving the charge north as oil prices lingered around 2 1/2-year highs.

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Later in the session, attention turns to a trio of data releases, including weekly jobless claims.

What are stock futures doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38 points, or 0.2%, to 24,826, while those for the S&P 500 index added 2.10 points, or 0.1%, to 2,687.50. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index climbed 12.75 points, or 0.2%, to 6,466.75.

The small gains come after all three benchmarks closed slightly higher ( in thin trade on Wednesday, with the Dow average ending 0.1% higher, the S&P 500 rising 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite Index advancing 3.09 points, or less than 0.1%.

What's driving the markets?

Rising oil prices helped lift energy companies premarket on Thursday, after U.S. inventory data out late Wednesday showed an unexpectedly large draw down ( in supply last week. That helped lift West Texas Intermediate crude 0.2% to $59.75 a barrel on Thursday, trading around its highest level since June 2015.

More broadly, trading volumes were thin, with investors likely to remain on vacation until after the New Year's holiday on Monday.

Last week, stocks rallied to records after the Republicans passed the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years as well as a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into early 2018. That helped set the S&P on track for a 20% yearly gain, while the Dow and Nasdaq were looking at gains between 25% and 30%.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Devon Energy Corp.(DVN) rose 3.5% in premarket trade and Chesapeake Energy Corp.(CHK) climbed 2.6%, as oil prices rose.

Tesla Inc.(TSLA) fell 0.1% ahead of the bell, after losing 1.8% on Wednesday when KeyBanc analysts slashed their fourth-quarter estimates for Model 3 deliveries to about 5,000 from 15,000 (

('s on deck in economic data?

Weekly jobless claims for last week are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, forecast to show 239,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, down from 245,000 the week before.

Data on advance trade in goods for November are out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern as well, followed by the purchasing managers index for Chicago at 9:45 a.m. Eastern.

What are other markets doing?

Bitcoin prices plunged (, with spot prices erasing more than $1,000 after South Korea announced tougher measures to crack down on cryptocurrencies trade.

The dollar dropped ( against most other major currencies, with the ICE index down 0.3% at 92.730. The broad-based dollar selloff came after U.S. Treasury yields tumbled on Wednesday.

Metals were mostly higher, with gold prices up 0.2% at $1,294.50 an ounce.

Asian stocks closed mostly higher (, while European markets wavered around the flat line.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 28, 2017 05:49 ET (10:49 GMT)