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Stocks rise ahead of U.S. bank earnings

by Paul

Stocks edged higher Friday, ahead of earnings reports that will shed light on the health of U.S. banks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose roughly 0.9% shortly after the market open. Gains were led by the European banking sector, which rose 1.3%.

In the U.S., futures markets pointed to a small 0.3% opening loss for the S&P 500. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citibank Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are all scheduled to report their earnings later in the day, amid signs the U.S. economy has been strengthening and the Federal Reserve is ready to increase borrowing costs in December.

Investors will also be monitoring U.S. retail sales figures to gauge the strength of consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth.

In the U.K., the FTSE 100 was bolstered by the pound weakening 0.25% against the U.S. dollar, as the foreign revenues of the multinational companies listed on the British index look beefier with a lower pound.

The pound is down almost 2% since the start of the week and 18% below where it was when Britons voted to leave the European Union on June 23. Recent comments by U.K. officials have failed to reassure investors that the divorce from the bloc won’t have an impact on trade and migration.

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