On course for a positive week ahead of US payrolls

LONDON – European markets mostly pulled back on Friday as investors await a key jobs report out of the US that will be closely watched by the Federal Reserve.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.3% in early trade, with basic resources shedding 1.6% while retail stocks gained 0.4%.

At the top of the European blue chip index, French utility EDF gained 5% as the French government seeks a new CEO ahead of its nationalization of the debt-saddled company.

Tag Immobilien shares fell more than 10% to the bottom of the index after the German real estate company resolved a capital increase.

Stock markets in Europe are on course for a positive week after a 2% bounce on Thursday built on gains from the previous session.

Sterling steadied at around the $ 1.2 mark on Friday morning, having appreciated modestly on Thursday as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would step down after more than 50 resignations from his government.

Global investors on Friday will turn their focus stateside to the June employment report, which is expected to show another strong month of hiring as the labor market bucks any signs of an impending recession or economic slowdown.

Economists predict that the US economy added 250,000 jobs last month, keeping the unemployment rate flat at 3.6%. The Fed is closely watching the labor market alongside inflation prints as it charts its course for monetary policy tightening, a central factor in the market’s assessment of the likelihood of recession.

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US stock futures were slightly lower in early premarket trade on Friday following a rally on Wall Street during the previous session, which saw the S&P 500 post a four-day positive streak.

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher on Friday, but Japanese stocks gave back some earlier gains and the yen rose on news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been critically injured after a shooting at a campaign event.

Back in Europe, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is due to deliver a speech in the early afternoon.

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