(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open higher on Friday, ahead of key print on the US jobs market.

IG says futures suggest the FTSE 100 will open up 20.7 points, 0.3%, at 7,544.42 on Friday. The index of London large-caps closed down 1.66 points at 7,513.72 on Thursday.

Investors are looking ahead to the US non-farm payroll report, which could help set the direction for the Federal Reserve interest rate outlook. Friday's data is expected to show that nonfarm payrolls rose to 180,000 last month, from 150,000 in October.

The data will be an indicator of the health of the US labour market, ahead of the Fed's interest rate decision on Wednesday next week.

Sterling was quoted at USD1.2584 early Friday, higher than USD1.2580 at the London equities close on Thursday. The euro traded at USD1.0783, lower than USD1.0791.

Against the yen, the dollar was quoted at JPY144.01, little changed versus JPY144.07. The Japanese currency held on to recent gains after Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said handling monetary policy "will become even more challenging from the year-end and heading into next year", Bloomberg News reported.

Traders had interpreted the remarks to mean that the bank was on the brink of shifting away from its long-running ultra-loose monetary policy, which had been put in place to kickstart growth.

The strong yen held back stocks in Japan on Friday, as the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo closed down 1.7%.

Further, government data showed Japan's economy contracted by 0.7% in the third quarter, revising a preliminary estimate that it shrank 0.5%. The drop, which followed two straight quarters of growth, came on the back of low consumer spending and lacklustre exports.

Trading elsewhere in the region was more tepid. In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 0.1%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed up 0.3%.

In the US on Thursday, Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.2%, the S&P 500 up 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite 1.4%.

Gold was quoted at USD2,029.64 an ounce early Friday, edging higher than USD2,028.77 on Thursday.

Brent oil was trading at USD75.48 a barrel, higher than USD74.52.

In Friday's UK corporate calendar, Berkeley Group will post its half year results.

As well as the US jobs report, the economic calendar for Friday has Germany's consumer price index reading at 0700 GMT.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News deputy news editor

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