By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets are set to open just higher on positive signs of a global economic recovery, but ranges will be tight with the U.S. markets on holiday and the number of coronavirus cases still mounting.
At 2:25 AM ET (0605 GMT), the DAX futures contract in Germany traded 0.5% higher, the FTSE 100 futures contract in the U.K. up 0.2%, and CAC 40 futures in France up 0.4%.
Economic data released earlier Friday pointed to a brisk pickup in the Chinese service sector, with the Caixin Services Purchasing Managers Index coming in at 58.4 in June, the highest reading in two months.
With the U.S. recording Thursday the addition of 4.8 million jobs in June, above the average forecast of 3 million, there are signs that the two largest economies in the world may be spluttering back into life.
Yet the danger surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak remains, particularly in America which recorded over 50,000 new cases Thursday, for the second day in a row. The U.S. accounts for around a quarter of the 10.8 million coronavirus cases recorded worldwide.
More than three dozen U.S. states have seen increases in Covid-19 cases, prompting them to delay and in some cases reverse plans to let stores reopen and activities resume, threatening to derail the nascent recovery.
Turning back to Europe, volumes are likely to be limited Friday with the U.S. enjoying a three-day weekend to celebrate Independence Day.
Economic data will center around the final PMI services indices for the region, while in corporate news U.K.-based banking giant HSBC (LON:HSBA) could be in the spotlight after pledging to boost investments in China even after Beijing launched sweeping new security legislation to crack down on Hong Kong.
Other stocks in focus will include Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot (OTC:PUGOY), after reports that the two are looking at ways to reduce the planned special dividend that was due to be paid to FCA shareholders ahead of their merger.
Oil prices dropped on Friday, as the continued growth of new coronavirus cases, in particular in the U.S. given its importance as the world's largest oil consumer, has prompted worries that the recovery in demand of fuel could stall as states reimpose travel restrictions.
At 2:05 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% lower at $40.27 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract fell 1% to $42.72.
Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,784.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.1237, flat on the day.