European shares inch up ahead of payrolls, ECB

Thu Jul 3, 2014 3:42am EDT

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.2 pct

* Ingenico jumps 9 pct; in talks to buy GlobalCollect

* Balfour Beatty tumbles 11 pct after profit warning

* U.S. payrolls seen at +212,000, 5th month above 200,000

By Blaise Robinson

PARIS, July 3 (Reuters) - European stocks inched up in early trading on Thursday, adding to the week's gains as investors awaited U.S. payrolls figures and the outcome of a European Central Bank policy meeting.

Shares in French IT systems group Ingenico jumped 9 percent after it said it was in talks to buy Amsterdam-based online service payment provider GlobalCollect for an enterprise value of 820 million euros ($1.12 billion).

At 0731 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,387.42 points, as was the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index at 3,257.93 points.

According to a Reuters poll of economists, payrolls probably increased 212,000 in June, marking the fifth consecutive month of job gains above 200,000, which would cement views that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, the ADP National Employment Report, seen as a pointer to the payrolls report, showed U.S. companies hired 281,000 workers in June, the biggest monthly increase since November 2012 and well above expectations.

"It's wait-and-see this morning. The payrolls should be relatively strong, which would help eclipse the recent dismal quarterly growth figure," Lionel Jardin, head of institutional sales at Assya Capital, in Paris.

"We're also awaiting (ECB President Mario) Draghi's comments. With very sluggish economic growth in the euro zone, the only driver for European stocks is the central bank."

Investor attention will be on any details of last month's stimulus measures that might emerge from Thursday's ECB policy meeting.

Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX index up 0.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 up 0.3 percent.

Shares in British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty tumbled 11 percent after it said trading at its mechanical and electrical engineering division had worsened, resulting in a 35 million pound ($60 million) profit shortfall.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today's European research round-up

(Editing by John Stonestreet)

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