FTSE, DAX, CAC Seen Higher; Lloyds Reports $5.5 Bln Loss

European shares were called higher Friday on the back of gains in the Asian markets overnight, boosted by positive data from the U.S. for both the labor and housing markets.

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The FTSE 100 is seen higher by 15 points, the DAX higher by 29 points and the CAC 40 up 18 points.

Greece is expected to start its bond swap on Friday following the approval by parliament of a law to endorse the swap which will see private investors take a 53.5 percent hit on their holdings but in reality could be over 70 percent.

The swap is intended to wipe around 100 billion euros off liabilities.

Italy will be tendering between 2 billion to 2.5 billion euros worth of short-dated bonds and up to half a billion in longer dated bonds, both at 10.00 GMT.

In earnings news Lloyds Banking Group , the part state-owned UK bank reported a full year pre-tax loss of 3.5 billion pounds ($5.5 billion), down from a profit of 281 million pounds in 2010. The loss is lower than forecasts had suggested of 4 billion pounds.

The bank expects 2012 earnings to be lower than 2011.

Reuters reported that Spain has asked the European Commission to ease strict budget deficit targets for the country, arguing that it needs more leeway to get through the downturn.