Wall Street headed higher as tech investors lick their wounds



* Rise in U.S. stock futures push Europe into the black

* Crude oil prices slip from 2014 highs

* Rise in U.S. Treasury yields stall

* China stocks gain after cut in benchmark mortgage rates

* Risk of Russia-Ukraine flare up could weigh on markets -ING

* Nasdaq enters correction territory but futures up

By Huw Jones

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street was headed higher on Thursday, pulling European shares back into the black as investors in Big Tech licked their wounds after Nasdaq's slide into correction territory.

However, fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve will be more aggressive in raising interest rates this year than the market has priced in continued to cap investor confidence.

Crude oil prices eased off their 2014 peaks, and the dollar dipped as the week's rally in U.S. Treasury yields paused.

Nasdaq futures NQcv1 were up 0.7%, suggesting Wednesday's selloff in tech stocks due to rising yields and Federal Reserve tightening would pause for now.

The tech-laden Nasdaq is down more than 10% from its Nov.19 closing record high. S&P 500 and Dow stock futures 1YMcv1 EScv1 were also firmer.

U.S. data due on Thursday include the Philadelphia Fed survey for January and U.S. initial jobless claims.

In Europe, the STOXX .STOXX index of 600 European companies was up 0.2% at 481 points, below its life-time high of 495.46 points hit in the first week of trading this year.

The MSCI all country stock index .MIWD00000PUS was in positive territory with a gain of 0.2% at 729 points, but is still down about 3.8% so far this year.

"There is a tonne of caution now," said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors. "The key factor that markets are thinking about is Fed tightening."

Rising U.S. interest rates, which would raise borrowing costs, could dent global growth prospects and the earnings outlook for international companies.

A Reuters poll of economists showed they expect the Fed to tighten monetary policy at a much faster pace than thought a month ago to tame high inflation.

Shah said the year opened with elevated valuations in markets and the sell-off in bonds since then has fuelled a growing sense of caution as market participants ask if they have priced in enough Fed rate hikes.

"That's what's driving a lot of the caution at the moment. Even with four hikes, the question is, is that enough and should we get ahead of this continued forecasting that we have been seeing," Shah said.

European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde said euro zone inflation will decrease gradually over the year, adding that the ECB did not need to act as boldly as the Fed because of a different economic situation.

ASIA PERKS UP, UKRAINE EYED

Asian share markets broke a five-day slide, pushing higher on Thursday as China underscored its diverging monetary and economic picture by cutting benchmark mortgage rates.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index .CSI300 rose 0.9% on the day, led by property developers, amid hopes government measures would ease a funding squeeze in the embattled sector, even as another developer warned of default.

Analysts at ING said geopolitical risks, notably the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine, could continue to weigh on global shares, adding to pressure from the outlook for rising rates.

U.S. President Joe Biden predicted on Wednesday that Russia will make a move on Ukraine, saying a full-scale invasion would be "a disaster for Russia" but suggesting there could be a lower cost for a "minor incursion."

Fed rate hike worries pushed U.S. Treasury yields to two-year highs on Wednesday, and taking Germany's 10-year yield into positive territory for the first time since May 2019.

On Thursday, U.S. yields edged up but remained below their highs in the previous session.

The benchmark U.S. 10-year yield US10YT=RR was little changed at 1.836% from a U.S. close on Wednesday of 1.827%, and the policy-sensitive two-year yield US2YT=RR touched 1.0413% compared with a U.S. close of 1.025%.

The pause in Treasury yields' march higher kept the greenback in check, with the dollar index =USD , which measures the greenback against six major peers, little changed at 95.617 as commodity currencies benefited from high oil prices.

The U.S. dollar was little changed against the Japanese yen JPY= at 114.28, and was flat against the euro EUR= at $1.1337.

In commodity markets, oil prices eased off elevated levels after touching their highest since 2014 on Wednesday on strong demand and short-term supply disruptions.

Global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was last down 0.4% at $88.06 per barrel and U.S. crude CLc1 fell 0.4% to $86.61 per barrel.

Gold paused after its best session in three months a day earlier. Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,838 an ounce.



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Additional reporting by Andrew Galbraith;
Editing by Bernadette Baum

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