-China GDP: China’s gross domestic product rose 6.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, in line with the median expectation of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The People’s Bank of China also released data on credit growth in the economy in March with an expansion of aggregate financing to 2.34 trillion yuan ($360.7 billion) far exceeding expectations. The credit expansion saw a surge in real estate investment in March, with the value of homes sold jumping 71 percent, the biggest year-on-year increase since at least 2015.
-Markets: Chinese data failed to lift stocks there overnight, with the Shanghai Composite Index closing 0.1 percent lower, trimming its weekly advance to 3.1 percent. The broader MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 percent, retreating from its highest level in four months, with Japanese shares dropping after a deadly earthquake in the Kumamoto prefecture. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent lower at 10:46 a.m. London time, with Volkswagen AG slipping 1.7 percent after data showed the automaker’s share of the European market fell to a five-year low. S&P 500 futures were 0.2 percent lower.
-Doha meeting: On Sunday members of OPEC and Russia will meet in Doha to discuss the freezing of oil production at January levels in an effort to stabilize prices. With the attendees of the meeting representing 60 percent of global production, the outcome of the meeting will closely watched by oil analysts, even though some of them believe it will have little supply impact, no matter what is agreed. It seems the oil futures market agrees with that sentiment, as the commodity is falling for a third day this morning, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate down 51 cents to $40.97 at 11:02 a.m. London time.
-Brazil: The other big event for investors to watch this weekend will be political developments in Brazil, where a last minute attempt to block an impeachment vote against President Dilma Rousseff in the Supreme Court has failed. The vote will now go ahead on Sunday, with markets viewing the removal of Rousseff as a positive development for the country and the global economy. The vote, due at 2 p.m. local time, is so important in Brazil that soccer matches are being rescheduled and huge outdoor screens to broadcast proceedings have been set up.
-Goldman cost cuts: Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is due to report earnings next Tuesday, is embarking on its biggest cost-cutting push in years as it faces a slump in trading and deal making. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., which reported this week, also showed that they were cutting costs more than expected to counter declining revenue. Citigroup Inc. is due to report this morning, as worries continue over how safe the U.S. banking system really is.
-Chinese GDP: New data shows China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in seven years during the first quarter. Gross domestic product expanded by 6.7% in the three months ended March, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That’s a tick above the 6.6% growth economists expected, according to the median estimate of a CNNMoney survey. While this represents China’s weakest quarter since the dark days of the financial crisis in early 2009, it is still «a milder deceleration than many had feared until recently,» said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics. Chinese stock markets slipped a tad on Friday, but the moves weren’t dramatic.
– Eyes on oil: Major oil producers are due to meet in Qatar on Sunday to discuss possible production freezes in an effort to boost global prices. Traders will be watching the meeting closely. Oil prices rallied above $42 per barrel earlier this week on reports that Saudi Arabia and Russia reached a deal to cap oil output ahead of the meeting. Crude oil futures are now trading around $41. There’s considerable doubt about whether a broad production freeze including OPEC and non-OPEC countries can be agreed, and how effective it would be in tackling a supply glut.
– Brexit campaign officially begins: Campaigning officially begins in the U.K. ahead of the June 23 referendum when British voters will decide whether the nation should leave the European Union. Uncertainty about the outcome of the referendum has pushed the U.K. pound down versus all major currencies. Over the past six months, the British pound has dropped by 8.5% versus the U.S. dollar and 7.5% versus the euro. The FTSE 100 index in London is dipping in morning trading alongside other European indexes.
– Earnings and economics: Citigroup (C) will post earnings before the opening bell rings. The Federal Reserve will issue a March report on industrial production and capacity utilization at 9:15 a.m. ET. Industrial production was down 1% in February from a year earlier. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey for April comes out at 10 a.m.
-Thursday market recap: Thursday was a pretty quiet day in the stock markets. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.1%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq ended the day unchanged.