Shares appear set for a flat start to ASX trading after stronger than expected Chinese exports data offset US unemployment figures overnight.

The benchmark SPI 200 futures contract was up 5 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,373.0 at 0700 AEST on Friday.

Stocks globally were bolstered after Beijing reported a 3.5 per cent rise in exports in April from a year earlier, confounding expectations of a 15.7 per cent fall and outweighing a 14.2 per cent drop in imports.

The data mitigated the impact of the weekly US unemployment report. Claims for unemployment benefits totalled a seasonally adjusted 3.169 million for the week ended May 2, down from a revised 3.846 million in the prior week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.25 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 23,875.89, the S&P 500 gained 32.77 points, or 1.15 per cent, to 2,881.19, and the Nasdaq Composite added 125.27 points, or 1.41 per cent, to 8,979.66.


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Meanwhile the Reserve Bank is due to give its Statement on Monetary Policy later this morning, after it left the cash rate at 0.25 per cent on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Macquarie Bank will issue its full year results, Orica will publish its half year results, and AMP and funerals provider Invocare will host annual general meetings.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished Thursday down 20.4 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 5,364.2, while the All Ordinaries index was down 14.9 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 5,449.9.

One Australian dollar buys 64.95 US cents at 0700 AEST, up from 64.54 US cents at Thursday’s close.