European stocks may drift lower on Friday, as a surprise interest rate cut in China for the 2nd time this year and monetary policy decisions of the European Central Bank and the Bank of England failed to inspire investors.
With recent manufacturing and services sector data highlighting weakness in economies around the world, investors now await the all-important U.S. June employment report due later in the day to gauge the financial health of the world's largest economy.
Economists expect the report to show an increase of about 90,000 jobs in June compared to the addition of 69,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 8.2 percent.
Asian markets are trading weaker across the board, commodities retreated and the euro fell against its major peers as investors discounted interest rate cuts and turned their focus to whether the Fed would actually come in with more stimulus.
ECB President Mario Draghi said the cuts in interest rates to a record low may have only a "muted" effect on the euro-area economy as it slides deeper into recession.
In economic releases, industrial production data from Germany and producer price figures from the U.K. are the major statistical reports due in the European session.
In corporate news, Roche announced that it has received pre-market approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a new test to assess a patient's viral load of cytomegalovirus.
The final report of the investigation into the Air France Flight 447 crash in 2009 off the coast of Brazil has blamed the accident on a combination of technical faults and mistakes by inadequately trained pilots.
Aviva Plc announced its decision to sell part of its shareholding in Delta Lloyd NV.
European stocks finished Thursday's session largely in negative territory despite the actions taken by both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. The DAX of Germany fell half a percent and France's CAC 40 finished 1.2 percent lower, while the FTSE 100 of the U.K. rose 0.2 percent and the SMI of Switzerland gained marginally.
On Wall Street, stocks turned in a lackluster performance overnight as ECB president's warning about further risks to euro-area growth overshadowed economic reports showing stronger than expected private sector job growth in June as well as an unexpected drop in weekly jobless claims in the week ended June 30th.
Also, a number of traders remained away from their desks following the Independence Day holiday, leading to somewhat choppy trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq edged up 0.04 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,976, while the Dow slid 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 eased half a percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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