Stock markets across Asia and Europe rallied on the last trading day of the week as investor sentiment was buoyed by optimistic expectations from the U.S. employment report due Friday. Economists expect U.S. non-farm payroll numbers for February to show unemployment rate at an eight-year low of 4.9 percent, with earnings tipped to rise by 0.2 percent over January.
London’s FTSE 100 was on track to close at a new 2016 high Friday, rising 0.77 percent after about three hours of trading while France’s CAC 40 was up 0.58 percent and Germany’s DAX was up 0.90 percent. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was also trading higher at 0.4 percent.
In Asia, all major bourses finished broadly higher with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index leading the table, up 1.18 percent Friday.
China's leading benchmark, the Shanghai Composite Index, closed 0.5 percent up. However, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange fell 2.21 percent and China’s Nasdaq-style ChiNext index fell 4.98 percent.
Investors are also looking forward to the start of the annual meeting of China's parliament Saturday, which will map out economic goals for the country for the next five years amid a wobbling economy and worries about the ruling party’s abilities to spur growth.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.32 percent, Australia’s ASX index rose 0.17 percent and India’s S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.16 percent at the close of trade Friday.
U.S. stock futures opened in the green, with the S&P 500 futures and the Dow Jones futures up 0.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq futures rose 0.28 percent.