European shares steady in early trade; eyes on payrolls, ECB

PARIS, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 3:05am EDT

PARIS, July 3 (Reuters) - European stocks were steady in early trading on Thursday, halting a two-session rally, as investors awaited the U.S. payrolls figures before chasing stocks higher.

At 0703 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.03 percent at 1,384.67 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 economic growth has rebounded.

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

Investors will also focus on the European Central Bank's policy meeting on Thursday. The attention will be on the details of the ECB's new stimulus measures unveiled in June. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; editing by Atul Prakash)

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