Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, with officials from the world’s two largest economies poised to meet for a fresh round of talks next week.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday trade representatives from Washington and Beijing would both aim to reach a deal next week. The talks come with less than three weeks to go before a March 2 deadline could see an increase in U.S. tariffs on Chinese products.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, edged up 0.2 percent — reaching its highest level since early October.
Trading was light on Thursday, with China’s financial markets closed for the Lunar New Year.
Back in Europe, investors are likely to monitor another batch of earnings. Sweden’s Volvo Cars, Denmark’s Vestas Wind and France’s Societe Generale are among some of the major companies set to release their latest quarterly figures on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England is set announce its latest interest rate decision at midday. The U.K.’s central bank will also release its inflation report, with 50 days to go before the country is expected to leave the European Union.