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European Shares Seen Up As Investors Look To China Data

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European stocks may open on a firm note Friday as investors monitor oil price movements and await the release of Chinese industrial output, retail sales and fixed asset investment data.

Expectations of more stimulus in China are growing as the U.S. and China remain locked in an escalating trade battle.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the relationship with Beijing good but "testy" while declining to set a deadline for levying tariffs on roughly $300 billion of Chinese goods.

"My deadline is what's up here. We'll figure out the deadline. Nobody can quite figure it out," he told a news conference.

Meanwhile, a group of U.S. Republican senators has introduced a bill Thursday to slap sanctions on entities and individuals developing Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project.

If passed, it would delay a key Russian project intended to deliver natural gas to Germany by sea.

Asian markets held steady after U.S. stocks rose overnight following two days of declines. The dollar is trading flat ahead of next week's Fed meeting, with investors waiting to see whether the U.S. central bank will hit toward easing policy.

Oil extended gains after climbing more than 2 percent on Thursday on news that multiple tankers were seriously damaged in the Gulf of Oman.

The British pound is moving lower after Boris Johnson finished well ahead of his rivals on Thursday in the first round of the party's leadership contest to replace Theresa May as the party's leader.

Overnight, U.S. stocks eked out modest gains as data showing bigger than expected decreases in U.S. import and export prices added to expectations the Fed will cut rates this year.

The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 0.4 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.6 percent.

European markets ended Thursday's session higher as oil prices rebounded and Germany completed its 5G mobile spectrum auction.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.2 percent. The German DAX gained 0.4 percent, while France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up marginally.

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