BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT/PARIS (dpa-AFX) - European stocks may open higher on Friday as China's November exports and imports blew past market expectations and optimism prevailed for the passage of the U.S. tax bill through the Senate.
U.K. markets, however, may open on a subdued note as the British pound continued to surge in the wake of reports that Britain and Ireland were close to a Brexit deal.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to put forward a fresh offer to resolve the Irish border dispute after Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier issued a deadline to potential deal.
Asian stock markets are broadly higher for the second day running as Chinese trade data beat expectations and the U.S. Congress passed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded until Dec. 22 and continue budget negotiations.
China's exports grew at a faster-than-expected pace in November, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
In dollar terms, exports advanced 12.3 percent year-over-year, well above the 5.9 percent rise economists had forecast. Imports surged 17.7 percent in November from a year ago, faster than the expected growth of 13.0 percent.
Japan's Nikkei index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng are currently up over 1 percent while gains remained modest elsewhere across Asia ahead of U.S. jobs figures for November due later in the day.
U.S. employment is expected to increase by 200,000 jobs in November after surging up by 261,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.1 percent.
German foreign trade figures as well as industrial production and foreign trade reports from the U.K. are also slated to be released later in the day.
The dollar inched higher for a fourth day and oil rebounded from its worst selloff in two months, while gold hovered near four-month lows.
Overnight, U.S. stocks eked out modest gains amid tax reform optimism. The Dow and the S&P 500 rose around 0.3 percent each while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added half a percent.
European markets also finished modestly higher on Thursday after struggling during the previous two sessions. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed little changed with a positive bias.
The German DAX rose 0.4 percent and France's CAC 40 index edged up 0.2 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 eased 0.4 percent, dragged down by miners on concerns that Chinese banks may not have enough capital to weather potential losses.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX