European Shares Seen Opening On Firm Note

stockmarkets jan07 16apr21 lt

European stocks look set to open on a positive note Friday as a batch of U.S. and Chinese economic data signaled that the global economic recovery is well underway.

China's gross domestic product expanded 18.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

That was shy of estimates for a jump of 19.0 percent but was up sharply from the 6.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Industrial production was up an annual 14.1 percent in March - missing forecasts for a gain of 17.2 percent and slowing from the 35.1 percent growth in February.

Retail sales skyrocketed 34.2 percent year-on-year in the month, exceeding expectations for a gain of 28.0 percent and up from 33.8 percent in the previous month.

Fixed asset investment jumped an annual 25.8 percent, beating forecasts for 25.0 percent while the jobless rate fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in February.

Meanwhile, nearly half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 30 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Asian markets remain broadly higher while the dollar headed for its worst back-to-back weekly drop this year amid an extended retreat in Treasury yields.

Gold hovered near more than one-month high while oil held steady near four-week highs amid improved demand outlook.

Consumer price figures from euro area and new car registrations data from Europe are due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

The U.S. economic calendar is also light, with traders likely to keep an eye on reports on housing starts and consumer sentiment.

U.S. stocks advanced overnight as inflation concerns eased and encouraging retail sales and jobless claims data raised hopes of a broader economic recovery.

The Dow climbed 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 rallied 1.1 percent to reach new record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.3 percent to end at its best closing level in two months.

European markets gained ground on Thursday as investors reacted positively to a slew of earnings announcements and dovish comments from Fed officials.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained half a percent. The German DAX edged up 0.3 percent, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent.

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