European Shares Little Changed Ahead Of US Jobs Report

European stocks were moving in a narrow range on Friday, as investors kept an eye on ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations and awaited the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls report for March later in the day.

U.S. employment is expected to jump by 180,000 jobs in March after inching up by just 20,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.8 percent.

Meanwhile, media reports suggest that that European Council President Donald Tusk is considering to provide a one-year “flexible” extension for the U.K. to leave the European Union.

Tusk’s proposal would enable the U.K. to quit the bloc earlier, if Parliament ratifies the withdrawal agreement before the 12-month period. The plan has to be agreed by EU leaders at a summit next week.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was marginally lower at 387.81 in opening deals after declining 0.3 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX was trading flat with a negative bias, while France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were up slightly.

Commerzbank rallied 1.8 percent while Deutsche Bank edged down slightly after recent reports of a possible merger between them.

Swiss producer and supplier of polymers and chemicals Ems Chemie jumped 4.6 percent after its Q1 net sales beat target.

Miners Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore all rose about 1 percent on hopes for a possible U.S.-China trade deal, while oil giant BP Plc gained 0.7 percent and Tullow Oil added 1.1 percent.

In economic releases, Germany’s industrial production grew a price, seasonally and calendar adjusted 0.7 percent in February, slightly slower than the 0.8 percent gain economists had predicted, preliminary figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

France’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed in February after widening at the start of the year.

A gauge of U.K. house price inflation rose to 3.2 percent in March from 2.8 percent in February. Economists had expected a lower rate of 2.1 percent.

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