March 8, 2013 / 8:12 AM / in 5 years

European shares extend gains on US jobs hope

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - European shares rose early on Friday with investors positioning themselves cautiously for a potentially stronger reading of U.S. jobs figures, while unprecedented central bank support kept equities around multi-year highs.

By 0803 GMT, the FTSEurofirst300 was up 4.13 points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,189.30, holding near highs last seen just over two years ago as central banks’ accomodative monetary policy continues to keep asset prices supported.

“Markets are breaking higher. At this time it is pointless to fight the strong uptrend. With so much support from central banks it’s hard to see where the downside will come from,” Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity, said.

A strengthening U.S. economy is also having a positive effect on equities after more strong labour market data on Thursday helped push the Dow to fresh all-time highs.

That has set the bar high for the non-farm payrolls later in the session, with economists expecting U.S. employers to have added 160,000 jobs last month, up slightly from January’s 157,000 count, although traders said investors might be positioning themselves for a better reading after recent data.

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