European markets set for positive open as investors watch data, earnings and Covid

  • The rapid spread of Covid-19 is once again front and center in Europe, with multiple countries seeing record daily cases, imposing partial lockdowns and tightening rules on the unvaccinated.
  • U.K. retail sales increased 0.8% month-on-month in October, slightly exceeding the 0.5% expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

LONDON — European markets are set for a cautiously higher open on Friday, looking to eke out a positive week as investors continue to watch economic data, the Covid-19 situation and corporate earnings.

Britain's FTSE 100 is seen around 35 points higher at 7,291, Germany's DAX is set to climb around 68 points to 16,290 and France's CAC 40 is expected to gain around 30 points to 7,172, according to IG data.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Friday, with Hong Kong stocks falling sharply as several of the region's biggest tech names came under pressure. Alibaba's Hong Kong-listed shares plunged more than 10% as the technology behemoth missed revenue and earnings expectations.

Stateside, stock futures were higher in early premarket trading as Wall Street hovers just below recent record highs after a strong round of earnings from several big names on Thursday.

Back in Europe, the rapid spread of Covid is once again front and center, with multiple countries experiencing record daily caseloads, imposing partial lockdowns and tightening rules on the unvaccinated.

On the data front, U.K. retail sales increased 0.8% month-on-month in October, slightly exceeding the 0.5% expected by economists in a Reuters poll. Excluding fuel, sales grew by 1.6% on the month against a 0.6% forecast, with the country facing spiking energy prices.

Final euro zone harmonized inflation figures for October and construction output for September are due at 10 a.m. London time.

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Investors are also monitoring the latter stages of corporate earnings season, with Kingfisher among those reporting on Friday.

The British retailer posted a 2.4% slide in third-quarter sales but said the final quarter of the year was off to a strong start.

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