European markets open and close; key U.S. jobs report, focus on earnings

LONDON — European markets were flat on Friday morning as investors tracked corporate earnings and awaited a key U.S. jobs report.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was little changed in early trade. Travel and leisure shares rose 0.6%, while insurance shares fell 0.6%.

Markets had a cautious week as investors reacted to a slew of corporate earnings. The European blue chip index closed just above flat in the previous session.

The Bank of England raised interest rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, while forecasting that UK inflation will peak above 13% in October and that the economy will enter a prolonged recession in the fourth quarter.

Friday’s U.S. jobs report at 1:30 p.m. London time is likely to provide clues about the Fed’s monetary tightening path and the state of the U.S. economy.

Economists expect 258,000 new jobs in July, down from 372,000 in June, according to Dow Jones data. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 3.6%.

U.S. stock futures were cautiously higher in early pre-market trading as Wall Street looked to eked out modest gains this week.

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Asia-Pacific shares were mostly higher overnight, with Taiwan leading the region’s gains as investors shrugged off Chinese military drills after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Earnings continued to drive individual share prices in Europe. Allianz, LSE Group and WPP were among the companies reporting ahead of the opening bell on Friday.

On the data front, French industrial output unexpectedly rose in June with a strong monthly gain of 1.4%, although it is expected to contract by 0.2% as supply chain issues and the energy crisis persist.

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