Futures rise as oil prices steady, dollar weakens

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[February 04, 2016]  By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday as oil and commodities got a boost from a weakening dollar.

* The dollar index which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hit 96.65, its lowest level in more than three months.

* The index fell sharply after weak U.S. data and comments from a Fed policymaker signaled that further rate hikes could be delayed.

* Oil prices held on to most of their previous day's gains of 7 percent as the dollar weakened and Venezuela appeared to be gaining support from more members of OPEC and other producers for a meeting.

* Fed policymaker William Dudley said in an interview published on Wednesday that monetary conditions had tightened since the Fed raised rates and that rate-setters would have to take this into account.

* The federal fund futures market indicates traders no longer expect a Fed hike this year.

* Stocks globally have had a rough start to 2016, hurt by tepid U.S. growth, falling oil prices, and concern that the world faces a China-led slowdown.

* Weak corporate earnings have only added to worries. Fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to have fallen 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.

* Weekly unemployment data, due to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show that unemployment benefits inched up to 280,000 last week from 278,000 the prior week. The numbers come before the keenly awaited monthly employment data released by the government on Friday.

* At 10 a.m. ET, data is expected to show a 2.8 percent drop in factory orders in December after a 0.2 percent dip in November.

* GoPro shares slumped 11.8 percent to $9.45 in premarket trading, a day after the company forecast current-quarter revenue well below analysts' estimates.

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* U.S-listed shares of Credit Suisse fell 11.7 percent to $14.73, after the bank reported its first full-year loss since 2008.

* Viacom jumped 7.5 to $48 after chairman Sumner Redstone stepped down from his executive role at CBS <CBS.N>, igniting speculation that the aging mogul will step down from his role at Viacom too.

Futures snapshot at 7:16 a.m. ET:

* Dow e-minis were up 40 points, or 0.25 percent, with 41,511 contracts changing hands.

* S&P 500 e-minis were up 3.75 points, or 0.2 percent, with 247,172 contracts traded.

* Nasdaq 100 e-minis  were up 10 points, or 0.24 percent, on volume of 34,663 contracts.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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