European shares gain for 9th session, focus on jobs data
* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.2 percent
* Pan-European index gains for 9th session
* Focus on U.S. jobs data, whisper numbers higher
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - European shares advanced for a ninth straight session on Friday, with investors betting a U.S. jobs report would show recent economic weakness was due to the cold winter and that the recovery remains on track.
The widely-tracked non-farm payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to show the U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace in four months in March. Median forecasts point to a rise of 200,000 in payrolls, though the whisper numbers in the markets indicated a higher reading.
Credit Agricole expected an addition of 225,000 jobs in March, while Societe Generale predicted that an improvement in weather conditions, along with solid underlying demand for new workers, had helped employers to add 275,000 more jobs.
Expectations of solid payroll numbers rose after the ADP National Employment Report showed on Wednesday U.S. companies picked up the pace of hiring in March.
"After an encouraging ADP report this week, it's highly possible that the non-farm payrolls numbers will be very solid today. The market has mostly priced in a better-than-expected number, but a much stronger reading will trigger a rally," said Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich. Continuación...