European stocks rose to the highest level in nearly four months Friday, although major benchmark were little-changed around the region as investors eye key inflation data and an uncertain start to the corporate earnings season in the United States.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was marked 0.30% higher at 391.40 in the opening 90 minutes of trading, taking the broadest measure of share prices to the highest level since June 19. Germany's DAX performance index, which edged past 13,000 for the first time yesterday before paring gains into the end of the session, was marked 0.07% higher at 12,991.41.
Britain's FTSE, which closed at a record high 7,556.24 points last night, gave back 0.32% those gains in early Friday trading owing to the strength of the pound, which rose to a ten-day high of 1.3317 amid reports that EU officials may offer an olive branch to Prime Minister Theresa May that would allow Britain a two-year "transition" agreement when it leaves the bloc in March 2019.
Global oil prices were also on the rise after China said that September imports rose 18.7% from the same period last year, while exports surged by 8.1%. The world's second-largest economy also imported a record amount of iron ore last month, official customs data showed, and have been importing around 8.5 million barrels of oil each days since the start of the year and topped 9 million barrels last month alone.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures for December delivery were seen 1.58% higher at $51.40 each by 09:30 London time while Brent contracts for the same month, the global benchmark, were marked 1.65% higher at $57.18 each.
The robust China figures, which come only days before the central government's 19th Communist Party Congress, a key meeting of party leaders and officials from around the country that sets out it ambitions for the next five years, helped lift Asia shares across the board, taking the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index 0.13% higher into the start of European trading.
Japan's Nikkei 225 was also in a bullish mood, rising firmly past the 21,000 mark -- and another 21-year high -- to close 0.96% to the good at 21,155.18 points.
U.S. equity futures, however, are pointing to modest declines on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average set to add around 9 points while the broader S&P 500 looks largely unchanged ahead of key bank earnings reports from Bank of America (BAC) and Well Fargo (WFC) . Investors will also see key September inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and retail sales data from the Department of Commerce.
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