5 things to watch on the ASX on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) followed the lead of international markets and sank 0.4% lower to 6,183.4 points.

Will the local market be able to bounce back on Thursday? Here are five things that could shape today’s trade:

ASX futures pointing higher.

According to the latest SPI futures, the local share market is expected to open the day higher by 0.15% or 10 points despite declines on international markets. U.S. markets were closed for the Independence Day holiday, but European markets were open and dropped lower. In London the FTSE 100 fell 0.3% and in Germany the DAX also fell 0.3%.

Oil prices are on the rise.

According to Bloomberg, WTI crude oil and Brent crude have both pushed higher again. The WTI crude oil price is up almost 0.3% to US$74.33 a barrel and Brent crude has risen 0.6% to US$78.24 a barrel. WTI crude rose in response to a decline in U.S. inventories following an outage at Syncrude Canada. This could put Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) shares in a position to print new 52-week highs on Thursday.

QBE Insurance broker note.

According to a note out of Goldman Sachs, it has held firm with its neutral rating for QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) but cut the price target on its shares slightly to $10.88. The broker believes that the insurance giant is fairly valued right now and suggests that the North American division is the key to driving improvements in group returns.

AusCann shares will be on watch.

Medicinal cannabis company AusCann Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AC8) is expected to return to trade today after launching a capital raising. Although no details have been released, AusCann is believed to be aiming to raise $30 million at $1.10 per share. The funds are reportedly going to support clinical studies and the expansion of its manufacturing facilities. Interestingly, the sector has come under pressure this week after a four-year study by the University of NSW found little evidence to support cannabis use in the treatment of chronic pain.

Gold rises and copper declines.

Gold miners such as Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) could be set for another positive day of trade after the spot gold price pushed higher again. Copper prices went the other way, which could weigh on the OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) share price on Thursday.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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