In Asia, equities were mostly lower on the back of a Federal Reserve meeting. Stateside, the Fed decided to keep rates unchanged but said that it expects “further gradual increases,” which pushed stocks slightly lower. Higher interest rates tend to dent stocks as investors believe companies will have less room for dividends.
Back in Europe, there’s still a strong focus on earnings. Monte Dei Paschi, Allianz and Richemont are among the companies reporting in Europe.
Investors are also closely monitoring developments in Italy, after the European Commission said Thursday that Rome’s economic forecasts are not in line with its own calculations. Eurogroup President Mario Centeno is meeting Italy’s finance minister Giovanni Tria at 11.30 GMT.
Meanwhile, in Brexit news, the U.K. government is set to hold critical meetings during the weekend, as European Council President Donald Tusk said Thursday he hopes for a breakthrough within days.
On the data front, there will be balance of trade figures out in the U.K. at 9.30 am London time and GDP numbers also due at the same time.