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European stock futures mixed; caution ahead of U.S. jobs report - European stock markets are expected to open in a mixed fashion Friday, with investors focusing squarely on the monthly U.S. jobs report that could set the tone for the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate move. At 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.1% lower, CAC 40 futures in France dropped 0.1%, while the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. rose 0.1%. U.S. jobs report in focus The main focus of attention this session will be the release of the U.S. jobs report for September, as this is likely to be a key factor in the Federal Reserve's next interest rate decision. It's been a mixed week for U.S. labor market data, starting out with higher than expected job openings as of the end of August, then lower than expected private payroll numbers from ADP. Thursday's unemployment claims ticked up from the prior week but were slightly below expectations. The U.S. central bank held the rate steady when they met in September, but a hawkish assessment of conditions pointed to another interest rate increase this year, resulting in U.S. Treasury yields soaring to 16-year highs. EU summit in Spain starts Back in Europe, European Union leaders are set to meet in a summit in Spain, starting later Friday, and are set to discuss how the bloc can strengthen its competitiveness, be at the forefront of new green and digital technologies and reduce its reliance on third countries, notably China. The EU leaders could also discuss a potential agreement with the U.S. on steel and aluminium trade that would avert the re-imposition of Trump-era tariffs, according to Bloomberg News. In terms of economic data, German factory orders rose 3.9% on the month in August, a sharp improvement from the revised 11.3% drop the prior month, while U.K. house prices fell 0.4% in September, according to data from Halifax. Crude set for sharp weekly demand Oil prices edged higher Friday, but were on course for their steepest weekly decline for months on concerns of a global economic slowdown and the associated hit to fuel demand. Official U.S. data this week showed a sharp build in gasoline stocks, indicating a decline in gasoline demand in the largest consumer in the world, and attention now turns to the release of the U.S. monthly jobs report later in the session for signs of how strong the economy is. By 02:00 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% higher at $82.39 a barrel, while the Brent contract traded flat at $84.07. The U.S. crude benchmark was down 9% this week, heading for its sharpest weekly loss since April, while the Brent contract was down more than 11%, on course to its sharpest weekly loss since March. Additionally, gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,835.15/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0539.

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