Europe Stocks to Open Lower; US Jobs Data in Focus

European stock market futures pointed to a lower open on Friday as investors waited to see if other banks followed the example of Lloyds’ Banking Group as it set aside £3.2 billion ($5.2 billion) in impairment charges related to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.

Sharon Lorimer

State-owned Royal Bank of Scotland reports its first quarter earnings on Friday with investors watching to see if it too sets aside funds to deal with PPI mis-selling complaints.

In the UK, investors were also awaiting Producer Price Index (PPI) data for April released at 08:30 GMT for further evidence on when the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee might next raise interest rates.

PPI output is forecast at 5.1 percent for the year and 0.7 percent for the month, down from 5.4 percent and 0.4 percent respectively.

Non-farm payrolls data from the United States were also being anxiously awaited after a sharp sell-off in the previous two sessions. The median consensus view for non-farm payrolls due for release at 12:30 GMT is that 186,000 jobs will have been created in April, but analysts told Reuters that investors were positioning themselves for a lower number, so if it matched expectations there could be a bounce in equities.

UK car registration numbers as well as producer prices, both for April, are also due. Spain releases March industrial production numbers.

On Thursday European shares closed lower, led down by banks on downbeat results, although early index losses were pared after the European Central Bank signalled interest rates would be unlikely to rise in June.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled left the door firmly open for an increase in July