ECB lifts European shares towards 8th straight weekly gain

EDINBURGH, June 6 Fri Jun 6, 2014 3:19am EDT

EDINBURGH, June 6 (Reuters) - Periphery blue chips led European shares towards their eighth straight week of gains on Friday, continuing to see uplift after the European Central Bank eased policy further, though trade was cautious ahead of U.S. jobs data.

Top Spanish and Italian shares rose 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, outstripping a 0.2 percent rise on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300.

Euro zone shares also rose on Thursday, led by banks in peripheral countries, as the European Central Bank unveiled a string of measures to fight low inflation and boost the currency bloc's economy. Hopes that the ECB would act have fuelled European stocks on their winning run.

"I think the ECB decisions were largely in line with what the market was expecting, however the negative deposit rate is certainly a brave move for the ECB and hinting that QE is a possibility if necessary should be very welcome news," Mark Ward, head of execution trading at Sanlam Securities, said.

"These measures however, should have been implemented long ago... (and) it feels like the market us running out of steam."

Trade may be cautious ahead of a U.S. jobs report which is considered more uncertain than usual.

While the median forecast is for a solid jobs gain of 218,000 when U.S. nonfarm payrolls is released at 1230 GMT, estimates range from as little as 110,000 to as high as 325,000. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Lionel Laurent)

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