Moderate open likely for U.S markets Thursday as key U.S. stock index futures were a bit down in the morning.

At 03:30 a.m. ET, Dow futures slipped 53 points, indicating a negative open of more than 14 points. Futures on the S&P and Nasdaq did not change much from the previous session. China’s weak economic data seemed to be weighing on investors.

China data showed that its industrial output expansion hit the slowest in 17 years. Already China's growth rate has shrunk to 6.6 percent in 2018.

President Donald Trump’s statement that he is in not in a rush to sign a trade agreement with China also influenced the market.

Within the U.S. investors will see new economic data, including weekly jobless claims and February import prices. Data on New home sales for January will be out during the day.

At the corporate side, Dollar General, Azul, Uxin, Adobe, Broadcom, and Oracle will report their earnings.

Oil price at a year high

Brent crude oil prices zoomed to the highest on Thursday backed by supply cuts of OPEC and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran. Reported dip in U.S. crude oil inventories also lifted prices, according to traders.

International Brent crude oil futures hit a 2019-peak at $67.80 per barrel and became the strongest since November 2018. Brent was $67.75 per barrel at 0244 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from its last close.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures hit $58.38 per barrel, up 0.2 percent, from the last settlement.

“Tighter global inventories from OPEC-led supply cuts and ... U.S. sanctions on Venezuelan petroleum products have cemented support for oil prices,” commented Benjamin Lu of Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures.

Asian markets mixed

Asia markets traded mixed on Thursday on the back of weaker China data on industry output. British lawmakers rejecting a no deal exit from the European Union also weighed on investors.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan was flat while the Topix index shed 0.24 percent. In South Korea, the Kospi fluctuated between gains and losses and closed a bit high 0.34 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down.  GettyImages-Stock market March 14 Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 11, 2019 in New York City. Moderate open is expected for the U.S markets Thursday as stock index futures are a tad down. Photo: Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In China, Shanghai Composite fell 1.2 percent while the Shenzhen composite crashed 2.3 percent. Australia's ASX 200 was up 0.3 percent.

European markets up

However, European markets rallied Thursday morning as investors reacted to a slew of corporate results and the parliament’s vote against a no deal Brexit.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 soared 0.4 percent during the morning with most sectors in positive territory.

Market participants will be watching another vote in the U.K Thursday to decide whether the official Brexit departure has to be delayed.