Markets cautious ahead of non-farm payrolls data release in the US

<p>European stocks opened tentatively this morning with markets taking a pause as investors bet US jobs figures will add to recent data, signalling an improvement […]</p>

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European stocks opened tentatively this morning with markets taking a pause as investors bet US jobs figures will add to recent data, signalling an improvement in economic activity.

US stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street, after both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones finished at new all-time highs on Thursday night, boosted by the strong figures as well as the Federal Reserve’s support for continued monetary stimulus.

Looking over to Europe the FTSE 100 was up 0.08%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.12%, while Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.19%.

On a more downbeat note shares of Royal Bank of Scotland fell 4.5% after it reported that Ross McEwan would take over as CEO from Stephen Hester as the lender unveiled its first-half results. The bank made a pre-tax profit of £1.4 billion in the 6 months to the end of June, compared to a loss of £1.7billion in the first half of 2012.

Mining stocks did not perform strongly as metal prices weakened. Fresnillo, Randgold, Antofagasta, Anglo American and BHP Billiton were all in the red. Vedanta Resources was also lower after suffering a shareholder revolt over its pay at its annual meeting on Thursday.

Looking at economic data this morning at 7am the Nationwide House Price will be released.  At 9.30am Purchasing Manager Index Construction will be released, followed by the eurozone Producer Price Index at 10 am. Later this afternoon the all-important US change in Non-farm Payrolls will be released.

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