The Spanish stock index IBEX 35 opened Friday with a slight upward bias after two days of upward movement, standing within striking distance of 11,500 points, a level that could be exceeded if the U.S. employment data paves the way for monetary easing.

After the meeting of the European Central Bank (ECB) - which lowered rates as expected but gave no clues as to its next steps - the US Federal Reserve (Fed) will take a close look at the May employment report to be published on Friday (12:30 GMT).

A Reuters poll of analysts indicates that job creation increased by 185,000 jobs last month, after rising by 175,000 in April. Such an increase would be below the 242,000 average of the previous three months.

If the gradual cooling of the labor market is confirmed, bets are likely to increase that the central bank will lower borrowing costs at least once this year and perhaps a second time.

"Confirmation of moderation (in employment strength) should underpin our expectations of 2 Fed rate cuts in 2024, the first in September (60% probability of -25 bps) and the second in December," said analysts at the Renta 4 brokerage house.

The Fed will meet next week, in an appointment in which no changes are expected in its benchmark interest rate, currently at 5.25%-5.50%, a level at which it has been since last July.

According to interest rate futures on LSEG's IRPR tool, as of Friday morning markets were forecasting a total of 48 points of Fed rate cuts this year, which is almost two 0.25 basis point cuts.

Elsewhere, the market was cautiously welcoming China's trade balance figures, as they showed export growth offset by a slowdown in imports.

At 07:15 GMT on Friday, Spain's IBEX 35 was up 12.00 points, or 0.10%, to 11,456.00 points, its third consecutive session on the rise, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of large European stocks was up 0.12%.

For the week as a whole, the IBEX 35 is up 1.18%, adding more than 130 points. The selective index has not exceeded 11,500 points since May 2015.

In the banking sector, Santander was up 0.19%, BBVA scored 0.18%, Caixabank advanced 0.15%, Sabadell gained 0.21%, Bankinter appreciated 0.69% and Unicaja Banco rose 0.15%.

Among the large non-financial stocks, Telefónica fell 0.41%, Inditex advanced 0.30%, Iberdrola gained 0.16%, Cellnex fell 0.67%, and the oil company Repsol rose 0.24%.

(Information by Tomás Cobos; edited by Javi West Larrañaga)