RTTNews - The major European markets are expected to open lower on Friday after U.S. bellwether Chevron Corp. warned in its interim quarterly update that the results of its refining and marketing operations are likely to be significantly lower in the second-quarter compared with the first quarter.

The Asian markets were clueless in mid noon trades following another lackluster lead from Wall Street, caution ahead of the corporate earnings reporting season and the weekend profit taking.

On the economics front, Germany's wholesale price index fell 8.8% year-over-year in June after falling 8.9% in May, the Federal Statistical Office said Friday. Prices fell for the eighth consecutive month in June. On a monthly basis, wholesale prices rose 0.9% in June following increases of 0.1% each in May and April.

Investors look forward to a report on building cost index for June, another on manufacturing new orders for May from Statistics Finland, French industrial and manufacturing output data due from the INSEE, French current account data and central government balance report for May.

Stocks on Wall Street moved in a choppy fashion on Thursday before closing modestly higher after a report from the Labor Department showed that weekly jobless claims fell below the 600,000 level for the first time since January. On the other hand, traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, which showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.1%, the Nasdaq rose 0.3% and the S&P 500 index added 0.4%.

Crude oil futures snapped a six-day losing streak amid bargain hunting on Thursday, as a drop in jobless benefit claims sparked hopes the economy could improve and gasoline futures staged a late supportive rally from an oversold condition. .After settling at $60.41 a barrel, up 27 cents in New York trading on Thursday, crude oil is now trading marginally lower at $60.32 in Asian trading ahead of the earnings season.

In corporate news, Addax Petroleum Corp. said Thursday that Mirror Lake Oil and Gas Company, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corp., has commenced its offer for Addax Petroleum and mailed the offer and take-over bid circular as well.

German chip maker Infineon Technologies plans to raise about 700 million euros ($982 million) in a share sale, reports suggest.

Swiss insurance company Zurich Financial Services AG said Thursday that it is starting a cash tender offer for certain outstanding preferred securities to optimize its capital structure.

Storage specialists Royal Vopak said it received commitments from a group of investors on their participation in a renewed cumulative financing preference shares program of 110 million euros ($154 million).

Entertainment and telecom group Vivendi SA said on Thursday that it is in talks to acquire the African telecommunications business of Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co. or Zain, as it seeks growth opportunities in emerging markets.

Mining group Anglo American announced the appointment of John Parker as chairman to succeed Mark Moody-Stuart, who will be retiring from the board after seven years as chairman.

BBA Aviation plc, the aviation services and systems support group, said its six-month performance was in line with its expectations, despite the challenging environment.

The European markets rose for the first time in six days on Thursday, as mining stocks rallied after metals prices climbed and Alcoa, Inc. kicked off second quarter U.S. earnings season by reporting better-than-expected results.

Automotive stocks also ended notably higher after Bank of America Corp. upgraded European automakers to overweight from neutral. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.76% higher, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.89%. Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.45%, France's CAC 40 index gained 0.54% and Germany's DAX index added 1.26%.

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