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USA stocks edged higher as investors awaited details of President Donald Trump's tariff plan and set their sights on Friday's jobs report.
In the meantime, the Japanese yen has been on a tear against a sinking dollar recently, despite expectations for several Fed rate rises this year.
On the Trump tariffs he said potential trade disputes "would introduce higher uncertainty in the future growth path". In the US, the 10-year Treasury yield hovered around 2.86%.
European Central Bank head Mario Draghi expressed concern about U.S. President Donald Trump's announced trade measures, saying the immediate spillover "is not going to be big" but that "unilateral decisions are unsafe". Crude oil traded near $60 a barrel and gold slipped as a Bloomberg gauge of commodities slid for a second day.
The president's plans have irritated US allies and sparked concerns about a trade war.
There has already been discussion of exempting key USA trading partners such as Canada.
Three hostages killed following standoff with gunman in the US
The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity. Wong slipped into a going-away party for some employees of The Pathway Home, a non-profit post-traumatic stress disorder program.
The document comes as a bit of a blow to the United Kingdom government as they appear to reject any notion that the European Union will be willing to grant a "bespoke" trade agreement.
President Donald Trump said Thursday he was sticking to his plans for 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports but would have flexibility to change those for specific countries.
Mario Draghi picked a odd moment to change his signals on bond buying after a tumultuous few weeks for the global economy.
The threat could prompt Draghi to repeat his August 2017 warning that "a turn towards protectionism would pose a serious risk" for global economic growth, following up a January rap on the United States' knuckles for appearing to talk down the dollar against the euro. The second is that when the ECB starts to move, it will want to continue a gradual increase in rates thereafter, as the U.S. central bank is now doing.
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People's Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20. Our monetary policy measures, which have facilitated the deleveraging process, continue to underpin domestic demand.
Beijing's reporting of strong export data comes against the backdrop of increased trade tensions with the US.
On Wall St, about 2.40pm local time: Dow flat, S&P 500 flat, Nasdaq +0.2%.
Syrian rebels let militants leave eastern Ghouta
State media have reported people in eastern Ghouta raising Syrian government flags and holding small protests in support of Assad. Rebels deny this and say the area's inhabitants have not crossed into government territory because they fear persecution.
IG says futures indicate the FTSE 100 index of large-caps to open at up 1.56 points at 7,159.40 on Thursday.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.5 percent.
The ECB left its refinancing rate at 0% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-central-bank-leaves-rates-policy-statement-unchanged-2018-03-08).
The British pound declined 0.6 percent to $1.3814, the first retreat in more than a week.
The currency added 0.1 percent to 106.22 against the Japanese yen, while it climbed 0.2 percent to 0.9465 against the Swiss franc. This compares to a fall of 0.1% seen in the previous month.
Although inflation will remain muted, the central bank is slightly more optimistic on economic growth, seeing the region's economy growing 2.4% this year, up from December's estimate of 1.3%. Express Scripts shares jumped 10.9 percent while Cigna dropped 9.7 percent.
Serena Williams Gave Sean Paul Some Tennis Lessons
Williams says she now lives in fear of blood clots, a condition that surfaced during a harrowing postnatal ordeal in September. However, she has to buckle up fast as she gears up to face a formidable opponent in Kiki Bertens.