European markets poised for higher open ahead of US jobless claims data

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European markets are expected to open higher Thursday as market participants start to hope that the coronavirus pandemic is reaching a peak, but the latest U.S. unemployment claims data could hit sentiment.

London’s FTSE is seen 52 points higher at 5,708, Germany’s DAX is expected to open 83 points higher at 10,406 and France’s CAC 40 is seen 32 points higher at 4,453 while Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 15 points higher at 17,376, according to IG.

European markets look set to follow their Asian counterparts, which were trading higher Thursday, but market sentiment could take a hit when the latest U.S. unemployment claims report, for the week ended April 4, is set to release at 8:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

Economists are expecting an increase of 5 million, which would build on the record-shattering prior two readings of 6.6 million and 3.3 million. Economists forecast that the unemployment rate will jump into the teens this month, from March’s 4.4% level and the 3.5% in February.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Thursday in overnight trading. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 35 points, pointing to an opening dip of about 111 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures also pointed to slightly lower Thursday opens for the two indexes.

U.S. stocks had surged on Wednesday fueled in part by Sen. Bernie Sanders dropping out of the presidential race, as well as hopes that the coronavirus outbreak may soon turn a corner.

Data out Thursday includes industrial output for February from the U.K. and Italy, manufacturing output from the Netherlands and the U.K.’s gross domestic product estimate for February. Sodexo will release half-year results and Air France KLM will publish traffic figures for March.

— CNBC’s Eustance Huang and Pippa Stevens contributed to this report.

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