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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Thursday

On Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its poor run and dropped 0.2% lower to 6,161.2 points.

Will the market be able to bounce back on Thursday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX futures pointing higher.

The Australian share market is expected to open the day higher on Thursday. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open 25 points or 0.41% higher. This follows another positive night of trade on Wall Street which late in the session sees the Dow Jones up 0.3%, S&P 500 up 0.75%, and the Nasdaq 0.8% higher.

Oil prices surge.

Australian energy shares such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) could jump higher on Thursday after oil prices surged overnight. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price rose 2.6% to US$58.34 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price climbed 1.4% to US$67.61 a barrel. This was driven by a large U.S. inventories drawdown and sanctions stalling exports from Venezuela.

Sigma shares will be on watch.

The Sigma Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SIG) share price will be on watch on Thursday following yesterday’s decision to reject the Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API) merger proposal. The latter responded during afternoon trade advising that it would not return with a better offer and would instead review its 13% stake in Sigma.

Shares going ex-dividend.

The next batch of shares are due to trade ex-dividend this morning and could drop lower. This includes childcare centre operator G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM), telecom company Spark New Zealand Ltd (ASX: SPK), and salmon and seafood producer Tassal Group Limited (ASX: TGR).

Gold price rises.

Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) shares could be on the rise this morning after the gold price pushed higher again. According to CNBC, the spot gold price has risen almost 1% to US$1,310 an ounce. This was driven by the further weakening of the U.S. dollar.

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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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