Britain's FTSE steadies, U.S. jobs data eyed

LONDON, June 7 Fri Jun 7, 2013 3:11am EDT

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - Britain's top shares edged lower on Friday, steadying after steep falls in the previous session, with market moves likely to be muted ahead of U.S. jobs data.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.16 points at 6,334.95 by 0708 GMT, having skidded 1.3 percent lower on Thursday, recording its weakest close in a month and a half.

Traders said that Friday's jobs report could prove key in ascertaining when the U.S. Federal Reserve might begin to unwind its monetary stimulus.

Mounting uncertainty over the Fed's intentions regarding its asset purchase plan has put investors on edge recently, with the FTSE 100 dropping around 8 percent over the past two weeks.

"With the NFP (non-farm payrolls) figure being touted as one of the most important in a while, I think we will be stick in a holding pattern until we see that data," Nick Xanders, head of European equity strategy at BTIG, said.

Economists expected the non-farm payrolls report, due at 1230 GMT, to show job growth of 170,000 in May, against 165,000 in April. The unemployment rate is seen steady at an almost 4-1/2-year low of 7.5 percent.

(Reporting by Tricia Wright)