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Current Futures: Dow +35.00, S&P +2.80, NASDAQ +3.75

European markets posted small gains around the opening bell, but soon after, the regional indexes fell slightly below the breakeven line, as the equity markets are preparing for the second quarter GDP data.

European markets swung around the break-even line, lacking clear direction on Friday. The same side-ways movement has been seen in the Eastern European and the Nordic stock markets, even though earlier in the day, Asian markets reached multi-month highs. However, part of the Eastern Europe market proved to be an exception with Romania and Czech Republic stock markets up 2.5% and 1.5%, while the Russian stock market lost nearly 1.8%. At the same time, the S&P futures posted some small gains during the Asian markets, but started to shed some of those gains, as the European session got underway. 

The best performing stocks in Europe came from the financial and from the mining sectors, while the energy companies posted considerable declines after Total and Shell had weaker than expected activity throughout the second quarter. In addition, airline companies made a positive contribution toward the broader stock market index on Friday, helped by British Airways quarterly results.

During the European session, a report showed that the unemployment rate surged to 9.4% in the euro-zone, the highest level in a decade. Earlier in the day, the Japanese labor data showed a similar picture, with the rate surging to six a year high. Both reports point to a decline in consumer spending, which does not support the strong economic recovery theme often spoken about, TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team noted.
For now, investors prepare for the 8:30am EDT release, where a report is expected to show that the U.S. economy contracted 1.4% during the second quarter, a huge improvement from the first quarter, when it contracted 5.5%. 

Overnight, the U.K. FTSE fell 12.76 points (0.28%) to 4,618.85, while the German Dax retraced 12.76 points (0.24%) to 5,347.94.

Crude oil for August delivery was recently trading at $66.70 per barrel, lower by $0.20. 

Gold for August delivery was recently trading higher by $1.400 to $938.30. 

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