Oil prices remain driver across financial markets

European stock markets edged lower Friday amid ongoing unease over the outlook for oil prices as well as a slightly disappointing economic survey.

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KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC 40 shed 0.6 percent to 5,250 while Germany's DAX fell 0.7 percent to 12,701. Britain's FTSE 100 slipped 0.4 percent to 7,413. Wall Street was poised for a flat opening with Dow futures unchanged and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent. "

EBBING ENERGY: Crude oil's extended decline this week and the effect it is having on broader financial markets weighed on investor sentiment and dragged down energy shares. Crude prices rose on Thursday for the first time in four days but they are still near their lowest levels since August. On Friday, they were up a little more, with benchmark New York crude rose 18 cents to $42.92 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ANALYST TAKE: "There's little reason to believe this is anything more than a dead cat bounce and that next week may be another painful one," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. Traders are clearly unconvinced by the cuts that are intended to bring inventories down to their five year average, particularly against the backdrop of rising output from the U.S., Libya and Nigeria."

CHINA CLAMPDOWN: Mainland shares fluctuated as officials tightened up on some companies. Authorities ordered three popular internet services, including Sina Weibo, to stop streaming video after they violated censorship rules on sensitive issues. Adding to the pessimism, reports in the South China Morning Post newspaper and financial magazine Caixin on Thursday said the banking regulator is tightening up scrutiny of companies behind a wave of recent overseas acquisitions by ordering banks to check credit-risk exposure to Wanda, Fosun, Anbang and HNA.

EUROPEAN GROWTH: A monthly survey revealed that economic activity in the 19-country Eurozone slipped to a five-month low in June and below market expectations. However, the IHS Markit composite purchasing managers' index remained well into positive territory, with job creation and business confidence still strong.

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ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index finished 0.1 percent higher at 20,132.67 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent to 2,378.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was practically unchanged at 25,670.05 while the Shanghai Composite in mainland China swung between gains and losses before ending 0.3 percent higher at 3,157.87. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 crept up 0.2 percent to 5,715.90.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.1172 while the dollar fell 0.1 percent at 111.23 yen.