European stocks may edge higher on Friday, mirroring a firm trend across Asia as higher oil and copper prices lifted commodity-related stocks. Tech shares could also be in focus after Apple's new generation iPhone 5 hit stores around the globe early Friday morning.
The euro is slightly higher against the dollar and the yen on optimism that new liquidity commitments by major central banks will spur flagging growth and resolve the region's debt crisis.
Investors will keep an eye on Italy after Mario Monti's government sharply slashed its growth forecast for the Eurozone's third largest economy this year to -2.4 percent from 1.2 percent contraction it had projected in April.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund plans to cut its global growth forecast by "a few decimal points" as the global economy has weakened since the fund's last report, a senior IMF official was quoted as saying yesterday after the Fund cut Korea's economic growth outlook by a quarter of a percentage point to 3 percent this year, citing risks emanating from the euro zone.
In economic releases, U.K.'s house price sentiment continued to remain weak, with households reporting decline in prices for the twenty-seventh consecutive month in September, though at a slower rate, data from a survey by Markit Economics and Knight Frank showed. The house price sentiment index came in at 46.8, up from 44.5 recorded in August.
In corporate news, Saint-Gobain announced the acquisition of a 25.1 percent stake in Zao Isoroc as part of its strategy to expand its presence in fast-growing high-potential regions and in energy efficiency markets.
MorphoSys AG announced positive results from the phase 1b/2a clinical trial evaluating its proprietary HuCAL antibody MOR103 in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Swiss leisure travel company Kuoni Group said it plans to explore exit options for its small loss-making tour operating businesses that are not of strategic relevance to the company any more.
Agribusiness company Syngenta AG said it intends to launch a public voluntary offer in cash for Belgian agro-biotechnology company Devgen NV for 16 euros per share.
Oilfield services provider Technip SA said it was awarded by Statoil a contract for the fabrication, installation and tie-ins of flowlines for the Gullfaks South field development.
European stocks moved to the downside on Thursday, as disappointing European and Chinese manufacturing data overshadowed the news of a successful bond auction by Spain. The German DAX edged down marginally, while Switzerland's SMI, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 slid between 0.2 percent and 0.6 percent.
U.S. stocks recouped early losses to end on a mixed note overnight after data showed new claims for jobless benefits remained relatively high last week. The Dow crept up 0.1 percent to end in positive territory, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were stuck in the red, ending down 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
by RTT Staff Writer
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