RTTNews - The major markets across Europe are poised for a higher opening on Friday morning, led by commodity stocks and the positive sentiment surrounding Wall Street's gains on Thursday and the strength shown by the Asian markets. The metal space will be in focus following the scraping of the Rio Tinto-Chinalco deal and finalization of a joint venture deal for the merger of iron ore assets of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton in Western Australia. Any upside might be limited as traders anxiously await the release of the U.S. non-farm payroll report later in the day.

In the U.S., traders digested the initial jobless claims for the week ended 30th May, which fell to 621,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 625,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge down to 620,000 from the 623,000 originally reported for the previous week. The report also showed that continuing claims fell to 6.735 million in the week ended May 23rd from the preceding week's revised level of 6.750 million.

In a separate report, the Labor Department revised its labor productivity figures for the first quarter, revealing a mild increase in the pace of growth. The report also showed that unit labor costs increased by less than previously estimated.

The Dow climbed 74.96 points or 0.9% to 8,750, the Nasdaq finished up 24.10 points or 1.3% at 1,850 and the S&P 500 closed up 10.70 points or 1.1% at 942.

Meanwhile, the European markets fell for the third day on Thursday, as mining stocks declined and the European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and said it expected a much sharper recession this year in the euro zone than earlier forecast.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.18% lower at 867, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.09% to 2,131. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.08% to 4,387, while France's CAC 40 index advanced 0.07% to 3,312 and Germany's DAX index added up 0.20% to 5,065.

On the economic front, Switzerland's consumer prices and the British PPI reports are due for release shortly after the markets open.

At 3.15am ET, the Swiss CPI for May is due from the Federal Statistical Office. Consumer prices are forecast to drop 0.9% annually versus a 0.3% fall in April. After a monthly growth of 0.9%, economists now expect prices to rise 0.2% on a monthly basis.

At 4.30am ET, the Office for National Statistics or ONS is set to release U.K. PPI data for May. Output prices are predicted to fall 0.4% year-on-year in May compared to an increase of 1.2% in April. The monthly growth rate is seen at 0.4%.

In corporate news, Rio Tinto might react to the news of scrapping of its deal with Aluminum Corp of China. The company also announced a joint venture partnership, combining its iron ore assets in Western Australia with BHP Billiton's. Oil stocks will also be in focus after crude oil prices rose to a seven-month high of $68.81 in New York.

Irish banks could see activity following a review of their ratings by Moody's Investor Service. Moody's had already cut the senior debt rating for Anglo Irish Bank and ratings for other four major banks in the country are under review for possible downgrade.

Steel stocks will be in action after Vallourec SA said that it expects a drop in near-term sales and revenue as its clients plan to reduce their inventories before fresh purchases.

WPP Plc (WPPGY, WPP.L) is likely to move in reaction to the news that it has struck an agreement between its wholly-owned operating company, Sudler & Hennessey and MDS, a healthcare agency in China, where the former would acquire a 60% stake in the latter.

SThree Plc (STHR.L) is likely to move in reaction to the news that gross profit for the six months ended 31 May 2009 declined 9% over the same period last year.

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