LONDON (AP) — Global stocks recovered their poise Thursday following an unconvincing start to the month, as investors became cautious ahead of U.S. jobs data that could go a long way to determining whether the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in June.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat at 6,112 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.1 percent to 4,321. Germany's DAX was 0.1 percent higher at 9,832. Wall Street was poised for a solid opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.4 percent.
U.S. ECONOMY: As the week heads to a conclusion, the focus is turning more and more to the U.S. Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for April is the key event in light of its potential impact on Fed rate hike expectations. At the moment, it's unclear whether the Fed will raise rates in June. A bumper payrolls report could help pave the way for a hike, which would be the second in six months. Economists expect the report to show jobs grew by 200,000 last month while the unemployment rate stayed at 5 percent.
MARKET INSIGHT: "Nothing quite puts the buffers on market conviction like the hugely unpredictable U.S. jobs report," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG. "The shadow cast by tomorrow's volatile payrolls figure was always going to cause hesitancy among traders who know only too well the impact a jobs report can have upon market sentiment and direction."
CHINA INDEX: The services industry expanded for a second month, although at a slower rate in April, according to a survey of Chinese purchasing managers. The Caixin/Markit index fell to 51.8 last month from 52.2 the month before, based on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction. The results indicate that momentum is slowing in China's service sector, which has been a bright spot for the country's slowing economy as manufacturing remains weak.
ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.4 percent to close at 20,449.82 while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China edged up 0.2 percent to end at 2,997.84. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 crept up 0.2 percent to 5,279.10. New Zealand's benchmark rose, but those in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines lost ground. Trading in the region was thinner than usual because markets were closed in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia for holidays.
ENERGY: Crude oil prices jumped, driven by what analysts said were concerns that output could be crimped after a massive fire swept through the Canadian oil sands hub of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose $1.41, or 3.2 percent, to $45.19 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up $1.20 at $45.82 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar remained in the ascendant trading 0.2 percent higher at 107.4The euro was down 0.5 percent at $1.1432 while the euro fell to $1.1441 from $1.1494.