European Shares Seen Tad Lower As Investors Await US Jobs Report

European stocks are seen opening on a sluggish note Thursday as investors brace for the U.S. jobs report, due Friday for important clues on the Fed’s rate trajectory.

Economists currently expect U.S. employment to increase by 185,000 jobs in November after an increase of 150,000 jobs in October. The jobless rate is expected to hold at 3.9 percent.

As inflation concerns ease, investors are pinning hopes that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates as early as the first quarter next year.

Asian markets were mostly lower as investors assessed trade data from China and Australia.

China’s exports unexpectedly ticked higher in November while imports fell slightly from a year ago. Australia’s trade balance grew less than expected in October.

Meanwhile, the EU’s top leaders met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier today for their first in-person summit in four years to discuss issues ranging from trade imbalances to Ukraine. Both sides have played down expectations ahead of the summit.

The dollar held steady while the euro hovered near three-week lows.

Gold traded in a narrow range while oil prices recovered some ground after having fallen nearly 4 percent on Wednesday to their lowest settlements since June on demand concerns, following a larger-than-expected build in U.S. gasoline inventories.

U.S. stocks gave up initial gains to end lower overnight even as weak readings on labor costs and private sector employment added to dovish Fed bets.

The Dow slid 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.4 percent to extend losses for a third straight session due to overbought conditions in the market. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 0.6 percent.

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday amid expectations that global interest rates have peaked.

The pan European STOXX 600 gained half a percent. The German DAX climbed 0.8 percent, France’s CAC 40 added 0.7 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent.

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