European Factors to Watch-Shares seen up, focus on central banks
(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a higher open on Thursday, tracking strong gains on Wall Street, with investors focusing on a meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day and U.S. jobs data on Friday for hints about the market's near-term direction.
The ECB is set to cut its inflation forecasts because of falling oil prices and China's economic slowdown, and it will probably promise to beef up its bond-buying programme if prospects weaken further. It is expected to leave rates unchanged.
Investors will keep a close eye on Friday's U.S. jobs data, which could provide clues about the Federal Reserve's likely move to raise interest rates.
"ADP employment in the U.S. was slightly below expectations at 190,000. This may mean that the all-important non-farm payrolls data on Friday could similarly undershoot," IG analyst Angus Nicholson said in a note.
"Market pricing for a rate hike at the Fed's 16-17 September meeting is steadily being unwound; it now sits at 30 percent."
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC 40 and Britain's FTSE were up 0.8 to 1.0 percent at 0653 GMT.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.2 percent higher on Wednesday, while major U.S. share indexes finished 1.8 to 2.5 percent stronger.