FTSE, DAX, CAC Called Higher on New Greek Deal Hopes

The main European markets were expected to open up slightly on Friday, after a week where Greece once again dominated the agenda.

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The FTSE 100 was expected to open up 25 points, the DAX was called 42 points higher, while the CAC was expected to rise by 25 points at the open.

The Greek government said late Thursday that it expects to get euro zone approval for a debt swap scheme with its private creditors – a key factor in ensuring it doesn’t default on its debt - on Monday.

Solid economic data from the U.S. on Thursday is also expected to buoy European markets. Weekly jobless claims fell 13,000, while January housing starts were also better than expected. Producer prices rose more than expected, by 0.4 percent, the largest gain since July.

There are several key meetings in the euro zone Friday. UK Prime Minister David Cameron will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. The two men recently exchanged words over the UK’s refusal to back a new euro zone treaty. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Rome to discuss Italy’s efforts to avoid Greece’s fate.

UK monthly retail sales for January, expected at 0930 London time, will give some indication of how the UK consumer is faring.