European stocks may open flat to slightly lower on Friday as investors look forward to the March U.S. jobs report, due out later in the day.
Economists expect the report to show employment jumped by 490,000 jobs in March after an increase of 678,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 3.7 percent from 3.8 percent.
The jobs data could impact expectations regarding how quickly the Federal Reserve plans to raise interest rates in the months ahead.
In money markets, eight additional rate hikes by the Fed are priced in for the current year.
Asian markets traded mixed as Ukrainian forces braced for new Russian attacks on the Donbas region in the southeast and a closely-watched survey showed sentiment at Japan’s large manufacturers soured in the three months to March. Rising Covid cases in China also added to the worries of a regional slowdown.
The dollar extended a rebound versus major peers and gold traded flat, while oil extended steep overnight losses following the U.S. administration’s decision to release crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserves.
U.S. stocks tumbled overnight to wrap up their first losing quarter since the first quarter of 2020 as Chinese manufacturing data disappointed, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge reached a new 40-year peak in February and Russian shelling around Ukraine’s capital shook hopes for progress in peace talks.
The Dow and the S&P 500 both lost around 1.6 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 1.5 percent.
European stocks also ended lower on Thursday, suffering their biggest quarterly loss since the early pandemic days of 2020, on concerns about rising inflation and the economic impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The pan European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.9 percent. The German DAX fell 1.3 percent, France’s CAC 40 index dropped 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.8 percent.
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