A stronger US dollar pummeled other currencies and most commodity prices in response to further impressive job and consumer sentiment numbers. The data prompted the S&P 500 index to snap its three day losing streak and oil prices rebounded. Asia Pacific futures markets are pointing to opening gains across the region but morning trading may be subdued ahead of major statistical releases.

US jobless claims fell more than expected. Traders focussed on this read as it dropped ahead of tonight’s non-farm payroll release. Today’s trading session could be driven by China trade data and Japanese GDP, lending and wages reads. In Australia October home lending is forecast to drop 2%, potentially drawing more unwanted attention to the major banks.

Tumbling gold prices will hurt exposed stocks today, partially offset by a lower Australian dollar.  The twenty index point gain overnight will bring the Australia 200 index back to the 6,000 mark. Traders will watch market action closely, as a close above this important mark may be interpreted as sign of further gains to come in the run up to year end.