By Riva Gold

European stocks and U.S. futures inched higher Friday ahead of a key reading on the U.S. economy and earnings from major banks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4% in the early minutes of trading, led by shares of health care and auto companies. All but the basic resources sector were trading in positive territory as a retreat in commodity prices weighed on mining companies. Copper futures were down 0.8% at $5,828 a ton while Brent crude oil shed 0.3% to $55.83 a barrel.

The moves came after U.S. stocks fell Thursday as losses in financial shares dragged down major indexes. Futures pointed to a small opening gain on Wall Street Friday, ahead of a report on U.S.retail sales and fourth-quarter earnings from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co.. With steep gains in shares of U.S. financials since the November election, focus is likely to be on the banks' forecasts for 2017.

Earlier, shares were mixed during Asian trading hours, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advancing 0.4% and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average adding 0.8%, while markets in Australia shed 0.8% and Shanghai declined 0.2%.

Data showed Chinese exports fell sharply last month amid weak demand, adding to some investors' concerns about the health of the world's second-largest economy.

In currencies, the WSJ Dollar Index inched down 0.1%, with the dollar last down 0.2% against the yen and euro.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note was little changed at 2.353% from 2.358% Thursday, while 10-year German bund yields were at 0.245% from 0.232%.

Write to Riva Gold at Dow Jones Newswires

January 13, 2017 04:04 ET (09:04 GMT)

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