RTTNews - The major European markets are poised to open slightly lower on Friday, as investors look to take profits ahead of the weekend following recent gains and due to the murky outlook for the near future despite the underlying optimism about global recovery. At the same time, a positive closing on Wall Street Thursday, better-than-expected economic data from China, the world's third largest economy, and strong trading across the Asian markets may limit the downside.

In the U.S., traders were presented with mixed economic data. A report from the Commerce Department revealed that retail sales rose 0.5% in May following a revised 0.2% decrease in April. Economists had expected sales to increase by 0.5% compared to the 0.4% decrease originally reported for the previous month. In a separate report, the U.S. Labor Department revealed that initial jobless claims, a closely watched gauge of layoffs, came in at 601,000 for the week ended at June 6th. This was down 24,000 from the previous week's revised level of 625,000. However, continuing claims, which measure the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment help, rose to 6.816 million in the week ended May 30th. Due to an upward revision to the previous week's figure, continuing claims rose to a new record high for the 19th consecutive week.

Traders also digested the results of the Treasury Department's auction of $11.0 billion worth of thirty-year bonds. The sale drew a high-yield of 4.72%, its highest level since August of 2007 but below estimates of 4.80%.

The Dow closed up 31.90 points or 0.4% at 8,771, the Nasdaq closed up 9.29 points or 0.5% at 1,862 and the S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points or 0.6% at 945.

Meanwhile, the European markets rose for the third day on Thursday, as U.S. government reports showing growth in retail sales and better-than-expected jobless claims data suggested that the recession is easing.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.89% higher at 888, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 1.13% to 2,194. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.57% to 4,462, while France's CAC 40 index surged up 0.59% to 3,335 and Germany's DAX index climbed 1.11% to 5,107.

On the economic front, the Eurostat is slated to release Eurozone industrial production data for the month of April at 5.00 am ET. Production is predicted to plunge 19.8% year-over-year, while the monthly decrease is seen at 0.4%. At 8.00am ET, the Hungarian central bank is slated to issue the minutes of MPC meeting held on May 25.

Earlier in the day, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) in Germany revealed that the index of selling prices in wholesale trade was down 8.9% iyear-over-year in May 2009 . Compared with April 2009, the index of wholesale prices rose by 0.1% in May 2009. Economists were expecting the index of selling prices to drop 9% year-on-year.

In corporate news, financial stocks may see activity after Investment management company BlackRock Inc. (BLK) revealed that it has agreed to acquire Barclays Global Investors, the asset management arm of U.K.-based financial services provider Barclays plc (BCS, BARC.L) for $13.5 billion.

Royal Philips Electronics NV might react to that news that Nomura Securities has initiated coverage of the world's biggest maker of light bulbs with a buy rating.

Drug makers might witness action after Glaxo SmithKline and Sanofi Aventis revealed that first batch of their vaccine for swine-flu related diseases will not be available until the end of September. Meanwhile, CSL Limited of Australia stated that it would make available the first batch of swine flue vaccine by the third week of August 2009. Irish drugmaker, Elan Corp., which is contemplating to sell a stake, has revealed that the strategic review process is in the last stage and a final agreement might be reached before the end of next year.

Innovise plc (INNO.L) is expected to move after reporting a drop in profit attributable to equity shareholders for the first half of the year, despite a sharp rise in revenue during the period.

Shareholders of 3i Group Plc (III.L) might react to the news that the company has received valid acceptances before the stipulated time for 96.55% of the 523.36 million New Ordinary Shares offered to shareholders pursuant to the 9 for 7 Rights Issue announced by the company on 8 May 2009.

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