LONDON -- Global stock markets looked set to end a turbulent week on a positive note although worries about the U.S. economy and the trade conflict between the U.S. and China still have the potential to derail Friday's recovery.
Investors in stocks were spooked earlier this week by developments in the U.S. bond market, which was pricing in a likely recession next year. Add in worries over the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing, Brexit, weak economic performance in Germany and political unrest in Hong Kong and stock markets have endured one of their worst weeks this year.
On Friday, amid a dearth of economic data, sentiment appears to have turned more positive, although confidence that it could be sustained for the rest of the session was low.
"Exhausted traders the world over head into the weekend in a more buoyant mood," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. "While I'd like to think there'll be no more drama in the final hours of trading, I'm just not that optimistic."
In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 1% at 11,523 while France's CAC 40 rose 1.1% at 5,294. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.7% higher at 7,115. Trading on the FTSE was delayed by over 90 minutes by what the London Stock Exchange said was a "services issue."
U.S. stocks were poised for solid gains at the open too with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.9%.
"Despite the positive start today, it seems unlikely that it will be enough to prevent another negative week," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. "Nothing we've heard over the last few days has come close to changing investor concerns that the global economy is on the cusp of a sharp slowdown, and if anything, a lot of the data has only served to reinforce those fears."
Investors are also keeping a close watch on the trade backdrop. Hopes of a swift resolution between the U.S. and China have been dashed and investors appear to be digging in for a protracted dispute. U.S. President Donald Trump has defended his stance once again and insisted that a resolution with China has to be "on our terms."
Earlier in Asia, .Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 recouped early losses to gain 0.1% and finish at 20,418.81. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, inching down less than 0.1% to 6,405.50. South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6% to 1,927.17, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9% to 25,734.22. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.3% to 2,823.82.
ENERGY: Oil prices recovered in the slipstream of stocks. Benchmark U.S. crude added 82 cents to $55.29 while Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.01 to $59.24.
CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.2% at $1.1079 while the dollar rose 0.2% to 106.32 yen.