European stock markets traded mostly higher Friday, while Asian stocks were mixed, as investors awaited the release of a crucial U.S. nonfarm payrolls report -- due Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT) -- to gather clues on a potential rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The pan-European STOXX 600 was up more than 1 percent during early trade, rebounding from Thursday’s losses, and London’s FTSE 100, which ended the previous day up 100 points, also traded up 1 percent.
Germany’s DAX was up 1.2 percent, and France’s CAC 40 traded 1.3 percent higher, capping a week of volatile trade.
“European equities are trading higher this morning, trying to stage a hesitant rebound after yesterday's bearish market action,” Markus Huber, a trader at Peregrine & Black, told Reuters. “While a very strong [U.S. data] reading would certainly increase the likelihood of a rate hike this year, very few expect that the Fed will pull the trigger as soon as October.”
According to analysts polled by Reuters, Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data is expected to show that the U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in September. This number might offer the Fed reason to raise interest rates -- currently at record-low levels -- later this year.
Stocks in the U.S., which closed little unchanged after fluctuating widely Thursday, also seemed poised to open higher, with the S&P 500 futures and Dow futures both up 0.2 percent. Nasdaq futures were up 0.4 percent.
In Asia, meanwhile, markets were more subdued. While the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which opened after a holiday Thursday, closed up 3.1 percent -- buoyed by slightly better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data -- other Asian bourses were not so upbeat.
South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index closed down 0.5 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which had fallen during early trade, closed flat.
Chinese and Indian markets were closed for national holidays Friday.