European markets set to nudge higher as investors watch earnings, data

  • July's flash PMI (purchasing managers' index) readings are due Friday morning from France, Germany and the wider euro zone.
  • Earnings season continues to gather steam in Europe, with Thales, Signify and Lonza among those reporting second-quarter results on Friday, while Vodafone issues a trading update.

LONDON — European stocks are set for a modestly higher open on Friday, as investors monitor a slew of economic data from across the continent, along with a fresh round of corporate earnings.

Britain's FTSE 100 is seen around 13 points higher at 6,981, Germany's DAX is expected to add around 29 points to 15,544 and France's CAC 40 is set to gain around 17 points to 6,499, according to IG data.

July's flash PMI (purchasing managers' index) readings are due Friday morning from France, Germany and the wider euro zone, and should offer a useful insight into the health of the bloc's economic recovery. The U.K.'s July PMIs and June retail sales figures are also due.

Earnings season continues to gather steam in Europe, with Thales, Signify and Lonza among those reporting second-quarter results on Friday, while Vodafone issues a trading update and Mercedes-Benz announces a strategy update.

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Shares in Asia-Pacific mostly retreated overnight as Chinese tech shares in Hong Kong pulled back sharply amid concerns over tougher regulation. Stateside, stock futures inched cautiously higher with Wall Street seeking its fourth consecutive day of gains as markets continue to rebound from a sharp sell-off on Monday.

Back in Europe, the European Central Bank held its monetary policy steady following a meeting of the Governing on Wednesday, but sharpened its rhetoric and vowed a "persistently accommodative" stance in light of its new inflation target.

has reared its head once again after the EU rejected the U.K.'s call to reopen negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a key feature of the withdrawal agreement that saw the U.K. leave the EU in 2020.

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