European markets climb ahead of euro zone inflation data

Staff | Reuters

This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

LONDON — European markets moved higher on Friday to start the new trading month after a winning February, with euro zone inflation data due mid-morning.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% in early trade, with tech stocks adding 1.1% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses advanced.

The continental blue chip index closed 0.1% higher on Thursday after fresh data showed the core U.S. personal consumption expenditures price index — the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation — rose in line with expectations by 0.4% monthly and 2.8% annually in January.

The Stoxx 600 notched an all-time high last month, powered by the 11 GRANOLAS large-cap stocks that made up half of the gains across the entire Stoxx 600.

The group comprises GSKRocheASMLNestleNovartisNovo NordiskL'OrealLVMHAstraZeneca, SAP and Sanofi.

Focus will turn Friday to February's flash euro zone inflation reading, expected at 10 a.m. London time, with economists in a Reuters poll predicting the consumer price index rose 2.5% year on year, down from 2.8% in January.

German consumer price inflation on Thursday came in line with forecasts at 2.7% year on year.

The European Central Bank will be watching Friday's reading closely as it charts its course of future interest rate cuts, with economic growth remaining stagnant across much of the bloc. The market expects the ECB to begin cutting in June, alongside the Fed.

In Asia-Pacific, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed at a fresh record high on Friday, just short of the 40,000 level, while Chinese markets rose on the back of fresh manufacturing data from the mainland.

Stateside, U.S. stock futures were cautiously higher after Wall Street wrapped a fourth consecutive winning month, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite reaching its first closing record since November 2021.

Europe opens in positive territory

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% in early trade, with tech stocks adding 1.1% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses advanced.

Germany's DAX was the strongest regional performer with a 0.7% climb.

Here are the opening calls

Britain's FTSE 100 is set to open around 61 points higher at 7,691, Germany's DAX is seen up around 112 points at 17,790 and France's CAC 40 is expected to add around 42 points to 7,969, according to IG data.

CNBC Pro: Investors should move money out of cash and into fixed income, Franklin Templeton strategist says

Investors should move out of cash and into fixed income with some duration, said Franklin Templeton's chief market strategist, Stephen Dover.

"Inflation probably won't get quite as low as market expectations and interest rates won't drop quite as far as market expectations," Dover said, adding that "this is is an opportunity, particularly in the fixed income markets, to pick up a little bit of yield."

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— Lee Ying Shan

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