France’s CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent to 5,080.31 while the DAX in Germany dipped 0.4 percent to 11,044.17. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 7,202.54.
Wall Street was set for losses on the open. S&P 500 futures shed 0.3 percent to 2,735.00. Futures for the Dow were 0.4 percent lower at 25,327.00.
European traders were looking out for possible snap elections in Spain. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was to make an announcement Friday after his government lost a key budget vote.
American and Chinese officials were to wrap up two days of negotiations in Beijing on Friday. It was unclear if they made headway on prickly issues such as Washington’s unhappiness over Chinese technology and trade policies. Both delegations did not speak to reporters before Friday’s meeting.
The U.S. is set to more than double import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods after March 1. But Trump has hinted that he may hold off on these if both sides made enough progress at the trade talks.
THE DAY IN ASIA: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 retreated 1.1 percent to 20,900.63 and the Kospi in South Korea tumbled 1.3 percent to 2,196.09. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 1.9 percent to 27,900.84. The Shanghai Composite was 1.4 percent lower at 2,682.39. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 bucked the regional trend, picking up 0.1 percent to 6,066.10. Shares fell Taiwan and throughout Southeast Asia.
ENERGY: U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $54.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 51 cents to settle at $54.41 per barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 3 cents to $64.54 per barrel. It rose 96 cents to close at $64.57 per barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 110.36 yen from 110.45 yen late Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.1275 from $1.1296.