European shares steady near highs with focus on U.S. jobs data

viernes 6 de marzo de 2015 05:29 GYT

* FTSEurofirst 300 index flat near 7-year highs

* Investors' focus on U.S. jobs data due at 1330 GMT

* Bureau veritas down after Wendel sells shares

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - European shares steadied near seven-year highs on Friday with investors focussed on whether U.S. jobs figures would be strong enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates sooner than expected.

February non-farm payrolls data, due out at 1330 GMT, was forecast in a Reuters survey to show a 240,000 rise, down from a 257,000 gain in January. That would mark the 12th straight month of increases above 200,000, the longest such run since 1994.

"There is still a debate raging over whether the Federal Reserve will raise rates at mid-year or later. So from that point of view, stronger employment data could be seen to favour a June rate hike," BCS Asset Management global equity fund manager, Edmund Shing, said.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was flat at 1,569.96 points by 0857 GMT, heading for a fifth straight week of gains.

The index rose 0.8 percent to a new seven-year high on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank's bond-buying programme may last beyond September 2016 if necessary and dismissed concerns it might struggle to find sellers for the bonds.   Continuación...