European stocks steady before US jobs report

Investors are in a bullish mood after US lawmakers agreed to lift the country's debt limit and avert a default that many had warned would cause a financial crisis. ©AFP

London (AFP) - European stock markets steadied Friday following strong gains the previous session, as traders awaited key US jobs data.

The dollar was mixed against main rivals ahead of the monthly employment figures due later in the day.

"This economic reading commands the most attention among investors and traders as not only sets the trading tone for today but it also influences it for the rest of the month," noted Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade.

"As always, the Fed will watch this data very closely, and it is highly likely to influence their monetary policy."

The Federal Reserve is shortly expected to announce when it plans to begin withdrawing its huge financial support measures put in place at the start of the pandemic.

The US central bank has indicated it will begin tapering by the end of the year but has not elaborated by noting by how fast it intends to go.

The release of non-farm jobs figures Friday could be crucial in determining the timetable, with a strong showing ramping up expectations it will kick off next month.

Analysts said the attention will then turn to when officials begin to lift interest rates.

Surging inflation worldwide -- made worse by rocketing energy prices -- is adding pressure on the Fed to act sooner rather than later.

Fragile risk appetite

Despite recent strong advances across financial markets, analysts remain wary about the outlook faced with a range of issues that have dogged investors for months.

"Risk appetite remains fragile with many factors agitating the markets including slowing economic growth, inflation and geopolitical risk catching investors' attention," said Louise Dudley at Federated Hermes.

"In particular, the supply chain challenges and inflation mean that companies are facing headwinds at both the top and bottom line."

Elsewhere Friday, oil prices resumed their upward trajectory on rising demand expectations and concerns over tight supplies.

Asian stock markets earlier closed their week out higher after a global rally Thursday as US lawmakers voted to avert a catastrophic debt default.

While the deal means there will only be enough cash to last until December -- leaving open the possibility of another standoff within months -- investors seemed happy to buy up some bargains after a recent run of hefty losses across global equities.

Key figures around 1100 GMT

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,078.46 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.1 percent at 15,241.41

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6,575.30

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,089.70

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,592.17 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent at 28,048.94 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.6 percent at 24,837.85 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 34,754.94 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1563 from $1.1558 at 2050 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3624 from $1.3615

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.84 from 84.86 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.79 yen from 111.63 yen 

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.6 percent at $82.45 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.7 percent at $78.81 per barrel

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