Stateside, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy was doing very well, shortly before the release of November employment data.
Financial markets are likely to closely monitor the release of U.S. payrolls data on Friday, amid concern the U.S. economy could be heading for a tough patch after years of robust growth.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, rose 0.4 percent on Friday.
In October, Merkel announced she would not run for the post and has effectively started to wind down her political career.
Elsewhere, Denmark’s Danske Bank is scheduled to hold an extraordinary general meeting to elect a new chairman and vice chairman Friday afternoon. It comes after the bank’s largest shareholder ousted the head of Dankse Bank’s board this month following a money laundering scandal.
In energy markets, oil prices added to recent losses Friday morning as OPEC delayed a decision over output cuts. The influential cartel and its allied oil-producing nations are set to debate the terms of production cuts in Vienna, Austria on Friday.