European stocks inched lower on Friday morning ahead of a key U.S. federal jobs report and amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered just below the flatline in early trade, with autos falling 0.7% to lead losses while telecoms bounced 1% higher.
Asian stocks were mostly lower during afternoon trade. China’s General Administration of Customs said its dollar-denominated exports jumped 7.2% on-year in July — well above market expectations due to strong demand for medical supplies.
Meanwhile, there is also a strong focus on tech stocks after U.S. President Donald Trump issued Thursday executive orders that ban transactions with WeChat and TikTok in 45 days.
In the health sector, the World Health Organization recalled Thursday that late-stage human trials don’t necessarily mean a Covid-19 vaccine will be widely distributed soon.
Stateside, the closely-watched nonfarm payrolls data for last month will be released at 1:30 p.m. London time with investors looking for an indication of the state of the labor market recovery in the world’s largest economy. Economists forecast 1.48 million jobs were gained in July, down sharply from the 4.8 million in June, according to Dow Jones.
In Europe, France’s June trade balance came in at -7.96 billion euros ($-9.43 billion) compared to a revised -7.46 billion euros in May, according to customs office figures released Friday.
German industrial output climbed 8.9% in June, buoyed by a 14.9% rise in exports fueled mostly by China.
In terms of individual share price action, Hikma Pharmaceuticals bounced more than 8% in early trade after the London-listed company reported a first-half profit jump and upped its sales outlook.
At the bottom of the European blue-chip index, TP ICAP fell more than 8% after its first-half earnings report, in which the London-listed brokerage cautioned of a meek start to the second half.