1. U.S. stock index futures fall slightly
U.S. stock futures slipped slightly on Thursday morning as investors reacted to news that China’s industrial output growth slumped to a 17-year low during the first two months of 2019. Jobless rate also increased, a sign that the country is likely to enact new support measures aimed at boosting its economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 69 points as of 7 a.m. ET, pointing to a loss of more than 30 points at the open. Futures of the Nasdaq 100 and those of the S&P 500 were also slightly down.
2. Crude oil prices settle at their highest level since November
International Brent crude oil futures on Thursday morning reached a 2019-high of $67.80 per barrel. That was also the highest price in 4 months. Traders attributed the gain to a higher-than-expected decline in gasoline inventories and an unexpected drop in U.S. crude oil stockpiles.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.2%, or 12 cents from their last close to trade at $58.38 per barrel. Brent was still at $67.75 per barrel, up 0.3%, or 20 cents from its last settlement.
3. U.K. lawmakers to vote on Brexit delay
British MPs are due to vote today on whether to ask the EU for an extension to the March 29 Brexit deadline, a day after they voted against leaving the block without a deal. Prime Minister Theresa will ask MPs if they want to delay Brexit past March 29, but that is only if they back her deal by March 20.
Exiting the European Union without a deal would likely cause major disruptions in the U.K. and in all 27 remaining EU member countries. The vote is scheduled to take place at 1:00 p.m. ET. The British pound was down 0.4% at $1.3275 by 5:40 a.m. ET after hitting nine-month high of $1.3380 yesterday.