European stocks are seen opening a tad lower on Friday, weighed down by the apparent lack of consensus among European leaders on measures to tackle the region's debt crisis.
Commodities retreated, Asian stocks are trading mostly lower and the euro is weakening against both the dollar and yen as weak data from Europe and China and a failure by European policymakers to make any significant breakthroughs to keep the debt crisis from spiraling out of control curbed appetite for riskier assets.
Also, a public-opinion poll showed Thursday that Greece's radical-left Syriza party is maintaining its poll lead ahead of the country's elections on June 17.
On the positive side, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said Italy can help persuade Germany to accept joint euro-area bonds, as a majority of leaders at EU summit backed them.
Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the European integration now needs a "bold leap of political imagination" in order to survive.
"If the governments of the member states of the euro define jointly and irrevocably their vision of what the political and economic construct that supports the single currency will be and what the conditions to reach that goal together should be," it would be the most effective answer to the question on the future of euro ten years ahead, he said in a speech in Rome.
In economic releases, consumer sentiment survey results from Germany and France are the major statistical reports due in the European session.
In corporate news, Japan Tobacco Inc., the world's third-largest tobacco company by sales volume after Philip Morris International Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc, said that it has agreed to buy Gryson NV, a family-owned Belgian tobacco company, for 475 million euros or $595 million.
European stocks rebounded from the previous session's sharp sell-off on Thursday after European leaders stressed they want to keep Greece in the eurozone. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks rose 1.1 percent and the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 1.2 percent, while around Europe, the DAX of Germany, Switzerland's SMI, France's CAC 40 and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose between 0.6 percent and 1.6 percent.
On Wall Street, stocks showed a lack of direction before ending the session mixed overnight, as traders seemed reluctant to make any significant moves amid some uninspiring U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a drop by a key indicator of business spending.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended May 19th. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended down 0.4 percent, while the Dow rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.1 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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