U.S. stock index futures up; all eyes on dollar

* U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wall
Street on Thursday, with futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: ) up 0.4
percent, Dow Jones (DJc1: ) futures up 0.4 percent, and Nasdaq 100
(NDc1: ) futures also up 0.4 percent at 0921 GMT.

* The dollar (.DXY: ) index hit the year’s low on Thursday
after Singapore widened its currency’s trading band.

* The move sparked a broad-based rally in commodities, with
oil futures rising towards five-month highs above $84 per
barrel, gold hitting a record high above $1,386 per ounce, and
other metal prices also strongly rallying.

* European stocks were up in morning trade, led by mining
shares, with key benchmark indexes such as the Euro STOXX 50
(.STOXX50E: ) breaking above their six-month range, sending a
bullish signal and triggering in sharp drop in the region’s main
risk aversion gauge, the VDAX-NEW volatility index (.V1XI: ).

* Japan’s Nikkei average rose 1.9 percent on Thursday, its
best daily performance in a month, buoyed by a jump in resource

* Economic data on tap on Thursday includes weekly initial
jobless claims, the producer price index for September and
international trade for August.

* Companies expected to report quarterly results include
Google (GOOG.O: ), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.N: ), W.W. Grainger
(GWW.N: ) and Safeway Inc (SWY.N: ).

* Genzyme Corp (GENZ.O: ) will provide its 2011 earnings
forecast on Oct. 22 at a meeting with investors and analysts
aimed at persuading shareholders that the company is worth more
than what Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA: ) has said it is willing to pay
for Genzyme, the company said. [ID:nN13256773]

* Rio Tinto (RIO.AX: ) (RIO.L: ) on Thursday maintained its 2010
production guidance for iron ore at 234 million tonnes, and said
it was driving all its divisions near or above capacity to cash
in on strong mineral prices.

* Pharma stocks will be in focus after Roche (ROG.VX: )
reported a 3 percent drop in third-quarter sales, as top-selling
cancer drug Avastin faced one of its toughest periods, failing
to give the Swiss company the boost it needed after a series of

* U.S. stock indexes hit their highest level in five months
on Wednesday as stronger-than-expected earnings and lingering
U.S. dollar weakness increased demand for equities.

* The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) gained 75.68
points, or 0.69 percent, to 11,096.08. The Standard & Poor’s 500
(.SPX: ) added 8.33 points, or 0.71 percent, to 1,178.10. The
Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC: ) rose 23.31 points, or 0.96 percent, to

* The S&P 500 broke a key short-term technical resistance
level when it moved above 1,173.57, the highest point it had hit
since the market’s “flash crash” on May 6. The next technical
barrier for the S&P 500 is at the 2010 high, near 1,220.
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hans Peters)

U.S. stock index futures up; all eyes on dollar