European Shares Set To Open On Firm Note

(RTTNews) - European stocks look set to open higher on Friday as bond yields steadied and investors remained optimistic about the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks.

The U.S. delegation led by trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrived in Beijing on Thursday for the latest round of talks.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to travel to Washington next week, but any final deal to end the trade war is expected to be agreed only at a proposed summit between President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

The negotiations could be extended for weeks, or even months, said White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

Asian markets advanced as investors digested a mixed bag of Japanese data. Retail sales dipped slightly in February from the previous month, while industrial output grew for the first time in four months and the jobless rate hit a nine-month low.

The U.S. dollar remains on track for its strongest gain in five months amid a bounce in U.S. Treasury yields, while oil is heading for its best quarter in almost 10 years, supported by ongoing supply cuts led by producer club OPEC and the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

The Turkish lira steadied after a 4 percent plunge on Thursday ahead of key nationwide elections this weekend.

On the Brexit front, a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's twice-rejected Brexit deal will take place in Parliament today.

Overnight, U.S. stocks finished broadly higher as bond yields steadied and investors cheered reports suggesting progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 0.4 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 percent.

The upside remained limited as investors reacted to a batch of largely disappointing economic data, including downward revisions to fourth-quarter GDP.

European stocks finished on a subdued note Thursday as growth fears as well as continued Brexit uncertainty offset positive news flow on the trade front.

The pan European Stoxx 600 eased 0.1 percent. The German DAX inched up 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.6 percent while France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent.

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