April 4, 2014 / 7:16 AM / 4 years ago

European shares edge higher on bullish payrolls bets

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - European shares looked set to rise for a ninth consecutive session and record their third straight weekly gain on Friday as traders bet on further support from U.S. jobs data due later in the day.

Budget airline Easyjet rose 1.3 percent as it reported a 4.8 percent increase in passengers in March, in what traders describe as a positive update.

It was among top gainers in the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, up 0.1 percent at 1,347.22 points at 0710 GMT.

The index has risen for eight consecutive sessions, its longest winning streak since October 2013. Then, the index surged for nine days, clocking its best run since 2010, Datastream showed.

Non-farm payrolls data due at 1230 GMT were expected to show U.S. job growth likely accelerated in March as the winter’s gloom started to lift, providing the strongest signal yet that the world’s largest economy was shifting into higher gear.

“We’re pretty upbeat about the payrolls,” Fahran Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said.

Underpinning investor appetite ahead of the data release were suggestions by the Federal Reserve’s chair Janet Yellen earlier this week that the bank’s ultra-easy policy would be needed for some time. The European Central Bank’s president Mario Draghi also boosted the market mood by opening the door to unconventional stimulus measures. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)

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