Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open marginally higher Friday ahead of the release of a deluge of economic data in the region, highlighted by quarterly U.K. growth numbers.
Investors have fretted through much of the week amid concerns about the ongoing banking crisis and the debt ceiling impasse in the U.S., as well as a global economic slowdown.
This muted trading is expected to continue Friday as investors digest a slew of economic data out of Europe, with British gross domestic product data the main event.
U.K. first quarter GDP showed that growth remained weak in the first three months of the year, rising 0.1% on the quarter, a gain of just 0.2% on an annual basis, but fell 0.3% in March.
The Bank of England lifted interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday to the highest level since 2008 as it combats inflation at highly elevated levels, but also mentioned the resilience of the economy as it upgraded its growth projections.
The earnings season continues Friday.
Allianz (ETR:ALVG) posted a healthy rise in first-quarter net profit, rebounding from the charges the financial services company took a year ago for a U.S. funds scandal.
Budget carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle (OL:NAS) reported a first-quarter loss, but said strong booking numbers would give it a lift in the summer season.
Earnings are also due from the likes of Societe Generale (EPA:SOGN) and Richemont (SIX:CFR), while UBS (SIX:UBSG) will also be in focus after the Financial Times reported that the Swiss banking giant has prioritized integrating Credit Suisse's investment bank and accelerating cost-cutting.
Oil prices fell Friday, and are on course for four consecutive weeks of declines on worries that the U.S. economy is heading towards recession coupled with lingering fears over a slow recovery in China's fuel demand.
However, speculation that the U.S. could repurchase oil for its heavily-depleted Strategic Petroleum Reserve if prices consistently trade around $70 a barrel is providing a degree of support.