Global shares inch up as caution rules ahead of US data

MANILA, Philippines, Jumada I 24, 1437, Mar 4, 2016, SPA — Global shares inched higher in cautious trading on Friday as investors awaited the release of U.S. non-farm payroll data and developments from China’s National Congress, which will open this weekend with a speech by Premier Li Keqiang that is likely to downgrade the country’s official growth forecast, Reuters reported.
Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent at 6,155.29 in early trading. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent at 4,421.14. Germany’s DAX was nearly flat at 9,757.62. U.S. futures suggested a muted start for Wall Street with Dow futures and S&P futures both nearly flat.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.3 percent higher at 17,014.78 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.2 percent to 20,176.70 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent, closing at 5.090.00 South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.1 percent lower to 1,955.63. The Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.5 percent to 2,874.15, while shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
China’s leaders are expected to trim their growth target during the annual session of the National People’s Congress, seeking more flexibility for structural reforms for the slowing, state-dominated economy. The growth target due to be announced on Saturday is expected to be a range of 6.5 to 7 percent, down from 2015’s goal of about 7 percent.
The price of U.S. crude oil rose 12 cents to $34.69 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 9 cents to $34.57 a barrel Thursday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, fell 16 cents to $36.91 a barrel.
The euro was lower at $1.0944 from $1.0946 and the dollar climbed to 113.74 yen from 113.62 yen.

–SPA
12:31 LOCAL TIME 09:31 GMT