(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open lower on Thursday, and equities in Asia struggled after less-than-stellar China trade data.

IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 to open down 40.1 points, 0.5%, at 7,489.58 Thursday. The index of London large-caps closed up 25.54 points, 0.3%, at 7,515.38 on Wednesday.

On the economic calendar on Thursday, the Halifax UK house price index is released shortly at 0700 GMT, followed by EU GDP at 1000 GMT.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2555 early Thursday, lower than USD1.2601 at the London equities close on Wednesday.

The euro traded at USD1.0762 early Thursday, lower than USD1.0796 late Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was down at JPY146.25 versus JPY147.17.

In the US on Wednesday, Wall Street ended lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.2%, the S&P 500 down 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.6%.

In Asia on Thursday, the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo was down 1.8%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was marginally down, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.0% The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed down 0.1%.

Chinese exports rose in November for the first time in seven months, officials said Thursday, as the country navigates a troubled recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the reading compares with a low base from last year when authorities were still wedded a zero-Covid policy that hammered output and business activity, while a surprise drop in imports highlighted weak consumer activity at home.

Overseas shipments edged up 0.5% on-year to USD291 billion, the General Administration of Customs said, marking their first increase since April.

The figure was much better than analysts' forecasts and followed a 6.4% slump in October, though it still suggested a post-Covid recovery from the Asian nation is materialising slowly.

"Asia markets on the other hand have struggled with the latest set of Chinese trade numbers pointing to an economy that is still struggling, and a downgrade by Moody's on China's credit outlook, along with downgrades to banks, and other small companies which looks set to weigh in the European open this morning, in the wake of weakness in Asia markets," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Gold was quoted at USD2,027.46 an ounce early Thursday, largely flat from USD2,026.89 on Wednesday.

Brent oil was trading at USD74.63 a barrel early Thursday, lower than USD75.14 late Wednesday.

In Thursday's corporate calendar, packaging firm DS Smith and retailer Frasers both post their half-year results.

By Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News senior reporter

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