* FTSEurofirst 300 and ESTOXX 50 up 0.8 pct
* U.S. jobs data worse than forecast
* Traders still positive on longer-term US jobs' outlook
* ArcelorMittal rises after forecasting higher profits
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 7 European shares rose for a second
straight day on Friday, helped by gains at steelmaker Arcelor
, as long-term investors bet equities would continue to
benefit from the region's gradual economic rebound.
Equity markets briefly pared gains after worse-than-expected
U.S. employment data, but then swiftly recovered as traders and
investors said the longer-term outlook of a gradual global
economic pick-up remained intact.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up by
0.8 percent at 1,300.12 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip
Euro STOXX 50 index also advanced by 0.8 percent to
Heavyweight steelmaker ArcelorMittal - regarded as a gauge
for the health of global manufacturing - was among the top
FTSEurofirst 300 gainers, rising 3.6 percent after forecasting
higher profits for 2014.
According to Thomson Reuters analysis, out of the 70
companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index to have
reported fourth-quarter earnings so far, 51 percent have posted
earnings above analyst estimates.
"The bulls think we're back on track," said Darren
Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment
Investors also focused on the fact that even though U.S.
employers hired far fewer workers than expected in January, the
U.S. unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point to
6.6 percent last month, the lowest since October 2008.
Some analysts added that, while the U.S. jobs report was
unlikely to sway the Federal Reserve from continuing to make
reductions in its bond purchase programme, the longer-term view
of a U.S economic recovery was intact.
"The headline payroll figure is quite soft, probably due to
the bad weather last month, but the trend of the jobless rate is
intact, and that's a pretty good indication that the U.S.
economy is back on track, so overall it's positive for the
market," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading
at Global Equities.
BUY ON THE DIP?
Along with ArcelorMittal, stocks seen as among the most
sensitive to a pick-up in the global economic cycle - such as
miners and carmakers - outperformed.
The STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources sector, which
houses major mining stocks, rose 1.6 percent while the carmakers
sector also rose 1 percent.
Chris Mellor, equity strategist at London-based Sunrise
Brokers, said equities remained the best asset class compared to
bonds or cash, where returns have been hit by record low
interest rates set by major world central banks.
Mellor also advocated using the recent dip in global equity
markets to add to positions.
The FTSEurofirst 300, which rose 16 percent in 2013, fell
nearly 2 percent in January due to fears of a slump in emerging
markets economies and a possible slowdown in growth in China.
However, Mellor felt an improvement in manufacturing data in
Europe remained supportive of a slow move higher on European
"The economic backdrop remains supportive. The sell-off
offers an opportunity to buy equities," he said.