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European Shares Set For Positive Start As Dollar Stands Tall

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European stocks may open slightly higher on Friday as optimism over U.S. tax reform plan lifted the dollar to a seven-week high versus a basket of currencies.

Also, oil held steady after climbing around 2 percent overnight on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia would extend production cuts.

The dollar retained overnight gains, gold held steady and Treasury yields inched higher as new data as well as upbeat comments from Federal Reserve officials reinforced investor optimism in the world's largest economy.

Asian stocks are broadly higher this morning, even as overall gains remained muted ahead of the U.S. September nonfarm payrolls report, due out later in the day. Employment is expected to rise by 90,000 jobs in September after climbing by 156,000 jobs in August. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.4 percent.

Factory orders figures from Germany and house price data from the U.K. are also slated to be released later in the day. German factory orders are forecast to grow 0.7 percent sequentially in August, offsetting a 0.7 percent fall in the previous month. U.K.'s Halifax house price index is likely to grow 3.6 percent in three months to September after a 2.6 percent rise in three months to August.

The report on Jobs compiled by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and IHS Markit showed earlier today that permanent job placements in the U.K grew at the weakest pace in five months in September. The number of people placed in permanent jobs increased again in September, but the rate of expansion was the slowest since April.

Overnight, U.S. stocks rose solidly to reach fresh record closing highs for the fourth day running after Congress passed a $4.1 trillion budget resolution and data on jobless claims, factory orders and trade balance pointed to underlying strength in the economy.

The Dow rose half a percent, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.6 percent.

European markets closed mostly higher on Thursday as investors monitored political events in Spain and the minutes of the European Central Bank's last policy meeting showed policymakers discussed various scenarios to extend asset purchases into next year.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.2 percent. France's CAC 40 index edged up 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose half a percent while the German DAX closed marginally lower.

by RTT Staff Writer

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