European Markets
Market participants in Europe await US nonfarm payrolls data on 7 February.Reuters

European markets opened higher on 7 February and continued climbing higher thereafter, ahead of the release of a closely-watched US labour market report, which could influence the future pace of the US Federal Reserve's bond buying stimulus.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index opened 0.3% higher to 323.74.

Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX 30 opened 0.2% higher.

France's CAC 40 opened 0.1% higher.

Spain's IBEX 35 was trading 0.31% higher after opening higher.

Italy's FTSE MIB was trading 0.20% higher after opening higher.

The US government will put out nonfarm payrolls data for the month of January at 13:30GMT.

Lloyds Bank said in a note to clients: "US payrolls will be the centre of attention today. The figures for December were well below expectations, showing a monthly rise of a mere 75k. The shortfall was regarded by most observers as reflecting special factors, such as exceptionally cold weather, rather than a genuine weakening in the pace of employment growth."

"Nevertheless in light of this the January numbers will be watched even more closely than usual. We expect a rise in payrolls of around 197k, which is close to the average rise over the last six months excluding December. However, there is a lot of uncertainty about this month's number, not least whether it will be impacted by January's cold weather."

"This month will also see benchmark revisions for last year, which could raise the 2013 level of employment and further cloud the picture. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain steady at 6.7% but potential fluctuations in participation point to risks on either side," Lloyds Bank added.

Meanwhile, data from the UK showed that British industrial production grew less than forecast in December 2013.

Output rose 0.4% from November 2013, the Office for National Statistics said on 7 February.

In company news, the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal's stock was trading 4.32% at 09:41GMT in Amsterdam after the firm forecast higher profits for the year ahead.

Norwegian oil major Statoil's said it had abandoned its 2020 production target and revealed that it would spend $5bn less than planned over the next three years.

Swedish lock maker Assa Abloy's reported a profit for its fourth quarter and raised its dividend.

Market participants continued digesting 6 February's central bank decisions. Both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank left monetary policy unchanged.

Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group said in a note to clients: "The ECB Governing Council decided against a further rate cut [on 6 February], while acknowledging that CPI inflation in January was 'lower than generally expected.' The ECB is shrugging off the CPI inflation's drift below target. Draghi's opening statement to the press conference, stating that 'annual HICP inflation rates are expected to remain at around current levels in the coming months,' hints that a further decline in inflation - seemingly likely, after the weak industrial producer price release on Tuesday - could trigger the next interest rate cut."

In Asia

India's BSE Sensex was trading 0.36% higher on 7 February.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 finished 2.17% higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 1.00% higher.

South Korea's Kospi finished 0.77% higher while. The Australian ASX ended 0.68% higher and the Shanghai Composite index closed 0.56% higher.

Asian markets traded in the green territory on Friday following positive cues from Wall Street and on hopes that a key US jobs report would put some global growth anxiety to rest.

Downbeat Chinese economic data failed to dampen spirits.

Data from China showed that the country's services sector growth dropped to a near two-and-a-half-year low in January. The HSBC/Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) index retreated to 50.7 in January, from 50.9 in December 2013.

Barclays Capital said in a note to clients: "Chinese trade growth is likely to slow further in January, with exports contracting due to soft external demand and a higher comparison base. Inflation is likely to moderate further as food inflation remained subdued. We expect new loans to post an usually strong January rebound to nearly CNY1.1tn, similar to last year."

Barclays Capital said in a separate note: "We expect China's CPI inflation to moderate to 2.3% y/y in January from 2.5% y/y in December, driven by lower food inflation. High-frequency price data showed that pork prices have been on a downward trend over the past month."

"We forecast PPI inflation to ease to -1.7% y/y in January as global commodity prices weakened. This is also consistent with the notable drop in PMI raw material purchase prices."

In company news, utility firm Tokyo Electric Power surged 11% in Tokyo while Kansai Electric Power shot up over 6%.

News Corp surged 8.2% in Sydney on news that its second-quarter profits beat analyst expectations.

Wall Street Up

On Wall Street, indices ended higher on 6 February, with the Dow logging its best session since the beginning of the year, following positive US labour market data.

The Dow finished 188.30 points, or 1.22%, higher at 15,628.53.

The S&P 500 ended 21.79 points, or 1.24%, higher at 1,773.43.

The Nasdaq closed 45.57 points, or 1.14%, higher at 4,057.12.

743 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. For every share that dropped on the bourse, more than three gained.

Data showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for government-sponsored unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 331,000, the Labor Department said on 6 February.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted first-time applications for jobless benefits dropping to 335,000 in the week ended 1 February.