Europe seen higher on oil rebound

European equities are expected to open higher on Thursday following a rebound in oil prices.

European markets are expected to follow the trend set Asia markets, which turned higher on Thursday as a spike in oil futures provided some reprieve for investors, although the commodity trade remains volatile.

U.S. crude oil surged late Wednesday, posting its biggest one-day percentage gain in more than two years on short covering ahead of options expiration. Brent reversed earlier losses to trade about 3 percent higher. Brent crude for February delivery was up $2.24, at $48.27 a barrel.

On Thursday, however, prices had fallen back, with U.S. crude trading at $48.14 a barrel and Brent trading at $48.07.

The bounce for oil was not enough to lift sentiment in the U.S. however, with U.S. stocks declining for a fourth session following weaker-than-expected December retail sales and as investors worried about global economic growth. Sombre earnings from major banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo also did nothing to help lift sentiment.

In other news, investors will be watching for developments in a report that smartphone maker Samsung recently approached BlackBerry to buy the company for as much as $7.5 billion, according to a Reuters report Wednesday.

Meanwhile in the U.K., British finance minister George Osborne said he would need to decide quickly about selling the government’s stake in the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland after May’s election, adding he hopes to be able to recover taxpayers’ money, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Earnings are due from Associated British Foods, Bovis Homes and Home Retail Group while Ladbrokes, Mothercare and Tullow Oil release trading statements.

 Varchev Traders

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