US markets look set to open higher today as investors weigh up the potential impact of higher oil prices against what appears to be a re-emergence from the Chinese consumer. Chinese retail sales improved more than expected to 12.5% annually from just 11.9% last month while Industrial production improved one tenth to 8.8% matching expectations. When factoring in the PMI’’s, trade and inflation data; things are looking a fair bit better out of China when compared to the month over month declines we’ve recently gotten used to. Despite proclamations from the World Bank, the sense that China’s economy is holding up will underpin the global growth story and be a boon for stocks. Investors perceive Iraq as the "new Ukraine" for geopolitical risk to the market. With both the Dow and S&P at all-time highs and rather overbought, investors have so far been exercising caution over the evolving problems in Iraq. But with the tick higher at today’s open it could be though that investors are assuming that just like Ukraine, Iraq won't disturb the global growth / central bank stimulus story that has been driving stocks higher. The big difference this time of course is the more immediate threat to US oil supplies unlike with Ukraine where the oil threat from Russia was more an issue for Europe, specifically Germany. Global oil supply/demand dynamics have changed though, America is a lot more energy independent now so perhaps problems in the Middle East don't pose the same problems they once did to the US economy. Overnight we’ve seen a more hawkish Bank of England Governor Mark carney, remarking in his Mansion house speech that interest rates may rise sooner than markets think. Given the UK’s status as the best performer in the G7, he has a lot more reason to be hawkish than Janet Yellen of the Fed. It seems likely that the Fed's language will be as dovish as ever with another $10bn taper at next week’s meeting. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 1 points higher at 1,931 with the Dow Jones expected to open 15 points higher at 16,749. CMC Markets is an execution only provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.