Global stocks were mixed Friday ahead of U.S. employment figures and after China indicated it will raise interest rates as it guides rapid growth in the world's No. 2 economy to a sustainable level.
Oil prices hovered near $88 a barrel, with losses tempered by hopes of stronger demand for crude and Europe's progress in containing its debt crisis. In currencies, the dollar was down against the yen and the euro.
European bourses were mixed in early trading, a day after celebrating a pledge by the European Central Bank to provide ready cash to troubled financial institutions.
Britain's FTSE 100 was down less than 0.1 percent to 5,763.43 and Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 6,952.86. The CAC-40 in Paris was up 0.2 percent to 3,756.84.
Wall Street was set to open lower, with Dow futures down 0.3 percent to 11,333.
Earlier, Asian stocks mostly rose amid signs the U.S. economy is picking up steam.
But mainland Chinese shares edged lower after the state news agency said the ruling Communist Party's top body, the Politburo, ordered a switch in monetary policy "from relatively loose to prudent."
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index shed less than 0.1 percent to 2,842.43. The Shenzhen Composite Index fell 0.6 percent to 1,302.25.
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed 0.1 percent higher at 10,178.32 and South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.4 percent to 1,957.26. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 4,694.2.
Benchmarks in Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines also advanced.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished 0.6 percent lower at 23,320.52. Indexes in New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia also declined.
Meanwhile, investors were cautiously optimistic about employment figures due out of the U.S. on Friday since reports earlier this week showed brisk pre-Christmas retail sales, better-than-expected home sales and strong private-sector job gains.
Analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said that "it is clear the labor situation is improving and with consumption demand, the final demand that drives all else, strengthening by the day, hiring should continue to improve."
But some analysts predict choppy trading will rule through the end of the year despite the signs of life in the U.S. economy.
"I think there is going to be some profit-taking and then people will go away for an early Christmas," said Tom Kaan, head of sales at Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong. But he added, "I am rather optimistic that you will see better U.S. data, better U.S. corporate earnings reports."
In New York Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 106.63, or 1 percent, to close at 11,362.41 as strong retail sales and a healthy reading on the housing market fueled positive sentiment.
Major retailers reported sales in November that were stronger than analysts expected, and The National Association of Realtors said the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes jumped 10.4 percent in October. Economists expected a slight decline.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.46, or 1.3 percent, to 1,221.53. The Nasdaq composite index rose 29.92, or 1.2 percent, to 2,579.35.
The Dow had jumped 2.3 percent Wednesday, its biggest gain since Sept. 1, after a report showed that private employers were adding jobs.
Adding to the optimistic mood was confirmation from the European Central Bank that it will continue to offer whatever loans banks need at a super-low rate through the first half of next year.
Benchmark oil for January delivery was down 35 cents to $87.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.25 to settle at $88 a barrel on Thursday, just shy of the 2010 high of $88.29.
In currencies, the dollar slipped to 83.64 yen from 83.85 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.3235 from $1.3221.
- Japan s Nikkei 225
- European Central Bank
- interest rates