• US stock futures edged up Thursday, as investors assessed Federal Reserve minutes for clues to the path of interest-rate hikes.
  • The dollar gained to near three-week highs as the Fed appeared to commit to more hikes.
  • In Asia, stocks were downbeat after COVID-19 cases in China rose to a three-month high. 

US stock futures inched higher Thursday as investors combed through Federal Reserve minutes for clues to policymakers' thinking on the future path of interest-rate hikes.

The July minutes released Wednesday were increasingly seen as confirming the Fed will stick with rate increases to cool down inflation, which is running at 40-year highs despite a pullback last month. Policymakers' comments undermined hopes for a pivot to rate cuts in 2023, as many investors hoped for before the minutes' release.

Futures on the major US stock benchmarks were all just in the green, with those on the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones ticking up 0.08%, 0.09% and 0.03%, respectively. 

Meanwhile, the US dollar index, which tracks a basket of currencies, rose to near three-week highs, moving up 0.14% to 106.72. 

"The minutes were broadly in-line with the market's thinking, and lacked fresh impetus needed to bring up the pricing of Fed's rate hikes," Saxo Bank analysts said. 

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note fell to not far off the 3% mark at 2.879%. Prices move inversely to yields.

In oil markets, the global benchmark Brent crude rose 1.33% to trade at $94.94 a barrel after OPEC's chief said global oil markets could face squeezed supply and persistent demand. West Texas Intermediate put on 1.17% to trade at $89.14, after US inventory data showed big drop in gas and crude oil reserves. 

In Europe, stock markets were largely positive. The STOXX 600 was up 0.38%, and Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.85%. 

Asian stocks largely declined, with China's CSI 300 losing 0.96% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closing 0.80% lower as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to a three-month high, a risk to its economic activity. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.96%.

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