U.S. stock futures are modestly higher after another successful Italian bond auction.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq are indicated higher by about 0.3 percent, while S&P 500 futures are up 0.4 percent. Gains of about the same magnitude occurred in Germany and France.
Italy sold about $9 billion of 10-year notes at 6.98 percent, down from its 7.56 percent rate last month. Three-year rates also dropped to 5.62 percent from 7.89 percent in November. The euro has continued lower nonetheless as investors remain wary about the country's funding needs.
That's dragging other risk-related currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollar modestly lower as well. The greenback is also down slightly against the Japanese yen, which is also a sign of caution.
Asian-Pacific trading was uneventful overnight, with continued selling in India amid worries about corporate profitability.
Commodities are mixed. Oil higher is up by less than half a percent amid persistent worries about Iran and ahead of inventory data from the U.S. government at 10 a.m. ET. Selling continues in precious metals, with gold down 2 percent and silver losing 3 percent. Grains are mixed but mostly lower.
In stock-specific news, Yahoo is the only noteworthy name in pre-market activity. It's up about 2 percent after China's Alibaba hired a U.S. lobbying firm to help it make a potential bid for the Silicon Valley-based web giant. YHOO has been outperforming the broader Nasdaq in the last three months.
There are no financial releases scheduled for S&P 500 companies for the rest of the week, although pre-announcements are possible before earnings season begins early in the New Year.
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