European shares up on expectations of solid U.S. jobs data
* FTSEurofirst 300 index rises 0.2 percent
* Pan-European index gains for 9th session
* Focus on U.S. jobs data, gains expected
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - European shares edged higher on Friday, heading for a ninth straight day of gains, as investors bet a jobs report would show recent weakness in the U.S. economy was caused by a harsh winter and its recovery was on track.
The widely followed 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 called for a gain of 200,000 in payrolls. Some expect much more.
Credit Agricole forecast 225,000 jobs were added in March. Societe Generale predicted that better weather and demand for workers led employers to add 275,000 jobs. Expectations of solid payroll numbers rose after ADP's National Employment Report on Wednesday showed 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," said Christian Stocker, an equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich.
"The market has mostly priced in a better-than-expected number, but a much stronger reading will trigger a rally," Stocker said. "If the data shows that only about 200,000 jobs were added, then we could see a bout of profit-taking." Continuación...