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European stock futures higher, investors digest ECB news


Investing.com - European stock markets are expected to open higher Friday, helped by positive results from tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as investors digest the European Central Bank’s monetary policy decision and await the key U.S. jobs report.

At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.2% higher, CAC 40 futures in France climbed 0.2%, and the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

The European Central Bank delivered its seventh straight hike on Thursday, as widely expected, but slowed the pace of its policy tightening with a quarter percentage point increase.

While ECB President Christine Lagarde indicated that the central bank is not done with rate hikes yet, the bank also noted that previous increases were being "transmitted forcefully" into financing and monetary conditions.

This prompted investors to bet that the ECB could end its tightening cycle sooner rather than later, especially after the bank’s own survey showed that lenders in the region reported a significant decline in demand for credit from companies in the first quarter.

German factory orders slumped 10.7% on the month in March, a drop from the revised 4.5% growth the prior month, according to data released earlier Friday, illustrating the economic difficulties facing the euro zone’s largest economy.

However, the major economic release Friday comes across the pond, with the U.S. monthly jobs report. This is expected to show that nonfarm payrolls rose 180,000 in April, a cooling from the 236,000 jobs created the prior month.

Helping sentiment were strong results from Apple, as the largest U.S. company by market value benefited from better-than-expected iPhone sales and notable inroads in India and other newer markets.

The earnings season continues in Europe, with Adidas' (ETR:ADSGN) first-quarter numbers coming in better than expected, boosting hopes the German sportswear giant is turning its fortunes around.

Air France KLM (EPA:AIRF) reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and robust cash flow as it benefited from a global recovery in air travel and strong summer ticket sales.

CaixaBank (BME:CABK) reported a 21% rise in net profit in the first quarter from a year ago, with the Spanish lender benefiting from a strong increase in lending income and a solid performance of its insurance business.

Oil prices rose Friday, but remained on course for a third straight weekly loss as concerns slowing growth, likely exacerbated by the turmoil in the U.S. banking system, will hit crude demand.

By 02:00 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 1.1% higher at $69.29 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 1.1% to $73.28.

For the week, Brent was set to close down around 8%, while WTI was set to close 10% lower.

Additionally, gold futures edged lower to $2,055.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.1037.

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