Europe Economy

FTSE, CAC, DAX Seen Higher; US Jobs Data Eyed

European stocks were called to open slightly higher on Friday after a dramatic rally in Asia on Thursday eased in overnight trade on Friday. 

Close-up of a pen on stock price chart

Crucial US jobs data due on Friday and the last summit of European leaders on December 9 could usher in a period of caution from investors as the fourth quarter draws to a close.

Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain's FTSE 100 would open 28-31 points higher, or as much as 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX would gain 27-29 points, or as much as 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40 would rise 13-19 points, or as much as 0.6 percent.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday that "the reform of Europe is not a march towards supra-nationality" ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday. 

The French and German leaders are expected to push ahead with plans to amend the European Union's founding treaty and Sarkozy's assurances that any amendments would maintain the sovereignty of national governments comes ahead of a Presidential election in France next year.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters on Thursday that the fund is likely to downgrade its economic growth forecast in January due to a lack of resolution on euro zone debt and volatility in global financial markets.  Rice did not specify which countries or regions would be downgraded.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde met with Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega on Thursday who told reporters that BRIC nations would be willing to help troubled euro zone economies in exchange for more influence within the International Monetary Fund and on the condition that Europe makes efforts to resolve its debt crisis.  Mantega said "it was a big satisfaction" that the IMF had come to Brazil not to lend money but to ask for loans to assist indebted "developed nations".

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris on Friday for a meeting set to be dominated by discussions on the debt crisis in the euro zone. The two leaders had been scheduled to meet for a Franco-British summit, but events this week including the decision on Tuesday to boost the firepower of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and next week's meeting of European heads of state have ensured that the meeting will focus on the euro zone crisis.

In Berlin, Angela Merkel is set to deliver a speech to the German Parliament on Friday outlining her approach to the debt crisis ahead of the December 9 summit and joint Franco-German treaty change proposals.

Key economic data ahead of the US jobs report at 13:30 UK time includes German retail trade figures at 7:00 and Spanish unemployment data out at 8:00 London time.

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