LONDON May 3 European shares held near
five-year highs early on Friday as central bank stimulus
continued to support equities over other asset classes, but some
caution crept in ahead of U.S. job data later in the session.
B 0703 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.38 of a
points at 1,206.15. That is close to March's closing high of
1,207.83, which itself was the highest finish since August 2008,
supported by the European Central Bank interest rate cut on
Thursday in an attempt to boost growth.
The index has already sold off from this level twice in 2013
and with investors looking for signs of stable growth equity
markets remain vulnerable to setbacks in the U.S. -- to which
European corporate derive around a quarter of their earnings.
U.S. non-farm payrolls (NFPs) for April, due at 1230 GMT,
are expected to have increased by 145,000 jobs, which would not
by enough to counter recent sluggish data.
"The number should certainly be better than last month which
was hit by a series of one-offs ... I think NFPs will be shy of
145,000, possibly in the 120,000s," Richard Perry, chief market
strategist at Central Markets, said.
Perry said with markets anticipating more accomodative
measures from the Federal Reserve, a small miss would spark only
a limited fall.