European shares are called to open flat on the last day of the trading week amid renewed concerns over Spain which was downgraded for the second time this year by S&P.
The FTSE 100 is seen flat, Germany’s DAX is seen up by 4 points and the French CAC lower by 3 points.
Spain was downgraded by two notches to BBB+ from A on Thursday with the credit rating agency citing concerns over the country's high level of debt in relation to gross domestic product, particularly in light of a very weak economy.
The schedule for earnings remains heavy as we head into the weekend with a raft of big company names reporting, including France’s Sanofi and oil giant Total, whose share price has been under pressure following the gas leak at its North Sea Elgin platform.
Germany’s BASF reported first quarter sales of 20.59 billion euros ($27.1 billion), a 6.3 percent increase. Daimler also reports numbers before the market open.
In the U.S, GDP data released later on Friday will be in focus, as will earnings from Procter & Gamble , Merck, Chevron and Ford.
In other news, Dutch political parties reached a deal on a 2013 budget enabling the country to meet an EU deadline on Monday.
Growth versus austerity came back onto the agenda after several European leaders called for more emphasis on the former rather than only the latter.
France’s Socialist party leader Francois Hollande said the French election would mark a turnaround in Europe with German dominance in European affairs being limited.