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European Shares Set For Positive Start

stockmarkets aug20 17jan20 lt

European stocks are likely to open higher on Friday after China's GDP data matched forecasts in spite of trade pressures.

The world's second-largest economy grew an annual 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 6.1 percent for the full year, according to a government report.

While GDP growth for 2019 was the slowest pace of economic expansion in 29 years, other data on from industrial production, fixed asset investment and retail sales showed signs of bottoming out.

Asian stocks are moving higher after overnight data signaled strong American consumer demand. Gold prices eased as the U.S. dollar held steady after the release of positive data and amid optimism over the interim trade deal. Oil traded flat after rising on Thursday.

Retail sales figures from the U.K. and final inflation data from euro area are due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

Across the Atlantic, trading may be impacted by a slew of U.S. economic data, including reports on housing starts, industrial production and consumer sentiment.

U.S. stocks closed at fresh highs overnight as the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal ended 18 months of uncertainty and a batch of largely upbeat data signaled a healthy economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent.

European markets ended mixed on Thursday as the U.S.-China trade deal left many issues unaddressed and the minutes of the European Central Bank's December 11-12 policy meeting revealed that policymakers were mildly optimistic regarding the euro area economic outlook.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.2 percent. France's CAC 40 index inched up 0.1 percent, while the German DAX finished marginally lower and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 eased 0.4 percent.

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