Earnings and data in focus amid trade talks

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after a survey on Chinese factory activity fell to its lowest level since February 2016.

The downbeat data exacerbated fears of an economic slowdown and dented optimism over a possible U.S.-China trade deal.

China’s trade delegation reportedly said Washington and Beijing had made “important progress” after two days of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump also said he would soon meet with Chinese premier Xi Jinping to try to reach a comprehensive trade deal. Stocks had taken heart from the possibility of top-level trade talks over the coming weeks, but the upbeat mood soon cooled when the White House insisted it sees March 1 as a hard deadline for a deal.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, edged 0.2 percent lower on Friday.

Back in Europe, investors are likely to closely monitor a fresh batch of economic data. Italy, France, Germany and the U.K. are all expected to publish a final reading of manufacturing PMI data for January during morning deals. The euro area is set to release a flash reading of annualized inflation rate data for January at 10:00 a.m. London time.

Later in the session, market participants will pay special attention to U.S. jobs data. Analysts are unsure what to expect, in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

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