European markets monitor US jobs and Sino-US trade negotiations

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European stocks opened higher on Friday with US-China relations and the economic impact of the coronavirus still at the center of concern.

The German DAX increased 1.2% shortly after opening, while the Italian FTSE MIB and the French CAC 40 increased by around 0.8%.

The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 is closed on Friday due to Victory Day holiday, which marks the end of World War II when fighting against Nazi Germany has ended.

The actions appear to have been boosted by the sign that relations between Washington and Beijing are heating up, as US and Chinese trade officials have agreed to step up cooperation in the implementation of the “phase 1” trade deal.

The news has calmed investors following mounting concerns over rising tensions between the United States and China – two of the world’s largest economies.

On the data side, German exports fell 12% in March, according to data released on Friday – a much sharper decline than expected, as the coronavirus met demand in the country. The fall marked the largest drop in German exports since the records started in 1990, Reuters reported.

Investors will also be watching the US employment report for April, expected at 8:30 am ET, Friday, to see how badly the coronavirus has hit the economy. Economists predict that more than 20 million jobs were lost last month, according to Dow Jones.

It follows separate and dismal job data released on Thursday. Weekly unemployment claims data showed that more than 33 million Americans filed for unemployment in the seven-week period ending May 2.

Meanwhile, in Asia, inventories were higher in the afternoon. Japanese stocks led gains in major markets in the region, as the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.06% in afternoon trading, with shares of heavyweights in the Fast Retailing and Softbank Group index each increased by more than 2.5%. The Topix index also rose 1.7%.

– Eustance Huang and Fred Imbert of CNBC contributed to this report

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