Well, those U.S payrolls numbers had better be good, because it looks like the stock market is banking on them.
Stocks rose in Europe ahead of the monthly jobs data, due at 8:30 a.m. (ET). Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 per cent, France's CAC 40 rose 0.8 per cent and Germany's DAX edged 0.2 per cent higher.
U.S. stock futures also inched higher. Dow futures gained 18 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 12,349, while S&P 500 futures rose 2 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,275.10.
The Canadian dollar fell sharply 97.98 U.S. cents after Canadian figures showed unemployment rose to 7.5 per cent in December and the only jobs added were part-time and self-employment positions. Full-time jobs fell by 25,500.
Economists expect the United States to have added about 150,000 jobs in December. That would mark a six-month stretch in which the world's largest economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. Expectations rose on Thursday after private payrolls agency ADP said its own calculations for hiring gains were much stronger than forecast.
The Labour Department's closely watched employment report should cement views that economic growth accelerated in the fourth quarter after a tepid performance in the first nine months of 2011. An improvement in the U.S. labour market is crucial for global markets because American consumer spending accounts for a fifth of the world's economic activity.
Asian market indexes closed lower as they reacted to poor economic and financial indicators out of Europe the previous day. That stream continued on Friday, with data showing a drop in retail sales and economic sentiment among consumers and businesses. Unemployment in the euro zone remained at 10.3 per cent.
Italy's benchmark 10-year bond yield edged further above 7 per cent,. Hungary had to pay an interest rate of 10 per cent on its 12-month debt -- far above the 7 per cent level that forced Greece and Portugal to seek emergency bailouts to avert defaults.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed 1.2 per cent lower at 8,390.35, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 1.2 per cent to 18,593.06.
Oil was set to rise more than 5 per cent in the first week of 2012 after Iran threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil route, in retaliation against tighter sanctions from the United States and a possible ban on its crude exports to Europe. Brent crude oil climbed above $113 (U.S.) a barrel. U.S. crude was up 38 cents to $102.19.
Copper steadied, trading at $7,538 a tonne.
Gold gained $3.30, rising to $1,623.40 an ounce.