by Christopher Johnson, Director of Research

U.S. equity futures are starting the Thanksgiving week modestly higher, with S&P futures up four points. The early bid follows a positive start to the week in most overseas markets and a 2% gain in oil.

This morning’s 2% gain in oil takes it back above $47 per barrel and comes after Iran’s oil minister suggested a that an oil production deal is highly likely to be reached at OPEC’s November 30 meeting. Also helping is news that Iraq will present three production proposals at technical meetings today and tomorrow, in order to work toward a deal ahead of the OPEC meeting.

In Europe, markets are holding moderate gains with strength in the materials and energy sectors. Gold miners such at Glencore and BHP are both trading well over 1%, along with energy giants, Shell (+1.2%) and BP (+1.4%).

There were a few deals announced this morning with LifeLock (LOCK ) being acquired by Symantec (SYMC) in a $2.3 billion deal while Headwaters (HW) will be acquired by Australian firm Boral for roughly $2.6 billion. Applied Micro (AMCC) will be acquired by MACOM Technology Solutions (MTSI) for approximately $770 million and Novartis (NVS) acquired Selexys Pharmaceuticals.

In earnings news, Tyson Foods (TSN) is trading lower by 9% after reporting disappointing results and guidance. After the close tonight look for results from Vipshop (VIPS), Beacon Roofing Supply (BECN), Dycom (DY), and Palo Alto Networks (PANW), among a few others.

 Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is speaking now, noting that certain fiscal policies, particularly those that increase productivity, can increase the potential of the economy and help confront some of our longer-term economic challenges. His remarks don’t appear to be having any market impact.

Finally, this week is a holiday-shortened one with U.S. markets closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and then closing at 1:00 pm ET on Friday. Volume is likely to be lighter but retailers will be in focus around Black Friday and cyber Monday, kicking off the all-important holiday shopping season.

An investor cannot invest directly in an index. The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author, and may not actually come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based on market and other conditions and should not be construed as a recommendation of any specific security or investment plan. Past performance does not guarantee future results.