Investors will be keeping a close watch on the release of US jobs figures
Investors will be keeping a close watch on the release of US jobs figures AFP News

European and Asian stock markets mostly dropped Friday, hit by concerns for the US tech sector after poorly-received earnings.

Traders were expecting losses at the Wall Street open after Apple, Amazon and Google owner Alphabet indicated following Thursday's close that high interest rates and sky-high inflation were weighing on consumer demand.

Investors will also be watching on Friday the US monthly jobs data for clues on the future pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes and the likelihood of the world's biggest economy entering recession this year.

The dollar was down against its main rivals Friday, the end of a week in which the European Central Bank and Bank of England lifted interest rates by more than the Fed.

Markets were pricing in also fresh geopolitical concerns after China said it was working to verify claims that Beijing flew a spy balloon over the United States, warning against "hype" over the issue.

"Futures are pointing towards weakness on Wall Street later, reversing the gains it made before the after-hours shockers from Apple, Amazon and Alphabet," noted AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

On the upside, the Nasdaq piled on more than three percent Thursday thanks to forecast-beating results from Facebook parent Meta.

Mould said investors were looking for a Goldilocks set of (US employment) figures which are neither so weak they raise the sceptre of a severe recession nor so robust they suggest the jobs market is still running too hot" and therefore risking more aggressive rate hikes.

In Asia, shares in Indian conglomerate Adani fell further.

Beleaguered Indian tycoon Gautam Adani on Friday denied that his rise to become Asia's richest man -- a title he has lost in a phenomenal stock rout this week -- was thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Combined market capitalisation in Adani's listed units has collapsed by about $120 billion -- or half their previous value -- since US short-seller Hindenburg Research, which makes money by betting on shares falling, released an explosive report last week.

It accused Adani of accounting fraud and artificially boosting its share prices, calling it a "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme" and "the largest con in corporate history".

Critics say Adani's close relationship with Modi, who is also from Gujarat state, has helped him win business and avoid proper oversight.

Adani on Friday called the allegations "baseless".

Elsewhere, crude prices extended Thursday's losses on concerns about the economic outlook and demand, with US stockpiles rising last week more than expected.

"Oil's in a bit of a limbo as the market awaits tangible signs of China's oil demand recovery," Vandana Hari, of Vanda Insights, said.

The Kremlin on Friday warned of a "further imbalance" to global energy markets ahead of an EU embargo on Russian oil products due to come into force this weekend.

An EU-wide ban on Russia oil products -- such as diesel, gasoline and jet fuel -- is set to come into effect on Sunday alongside a G7 price cap on these products.

It will expand upon an EU embargo on seaborne deliveries of Russian crude oil that was introduced in December last year.

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,838.25 points

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.5 percent at 15,425.77

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,153.84

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 4,226.99

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 27,509.46 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.4 percent at 21,660.47 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,263.41 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 34,053.94 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0925 from $1.0918 on Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2253 from $1.2225

Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.14 pence from 89.21 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $75.78 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.2 percent at $82.03 per barrel