LONDON Feb 7 European shares edged up on Friday
as heavyweight steelmaker ArcelorMittal unveiled
upbeat forecasts and investors anticipated further encouraging
economic data from the United States.
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker and a company
regarded as a broad gauge for the health of global
manufacturing, forecast higher profits in the year ahead and
flagged growth in European consumption after two years of
decline. Shares in the firm were up 3.8 percent at 0803 GMT.
The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European shares
rose 0.3 percent to 1,294.14 points, inching into
positive territory for the week.
Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits came in
lower than expected on Thursday, raising expectations for
Friday's non-farm payrolls report for January and helping the
FTSEurofirst 300 post its best daily gain since Dec. 19.
"After what we saw yesterday we're going slightly long into
the data and if the figures are good we expect a nice short
squeeze," said Markus Huber, senior trader at Peregrine & Black,
referring to a situation where traders rush to close their
negative bets on the market, helping push prices higher.