Europe Stocks Seen Higher Before Portugal Bailout Talks

European stocks were indicated to open higher on Friday as the euro nears a 15-month high against the dollar.

Sharon Lorimer

The UK's FTSE 100 index was indicated to gain 31 points to 6,038, while Germany's DAX index was shown to open 33 points higher at 7,212, and France's CAC index was set to rise 29 points at the open to 4,057, according to IG Markets.

European and U.S. stocks fell late Thursday after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck northeast Japan, the area which was devastated by a massive 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami on March 11. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.2 percent lower at 1,144.83 points, after rising to as much as 1,153.60 points in the afternoon session.

But the Nikkei 225 Average, along with many other Asian indices, managed to shrug off the news of the quake on Friday, after it appeared that no major damage was caused.

The euro hit a 15-month high against the dollar, bouncing back after dipping the previous day in reaction to the widely-expected European Central Bank rate rise.

Euro zone finance ministers will discuss Portugal's optionsto solve its debt problems on Friday after the country indicated late on Wednesday it would be seeking financial assistance. Finance ministers from the 17 countries using the euro meet in Budapest, Hungary, for talks about aid for Portugal, which follows in the steps of Greece and Ireland.

Criteria of new bank stress tests of around 90 banks are published on Friday. Markets are keen to know how the European Banking Authority has defined capital for its calculations of banks' core tier 1 ratios.

Macroeconomic data on tap includes German foreign trade and manufacturing turnover figures, both for February. In the UK, March producer prices are due.