* FTSEurofirst 300 down 0.1 pct, stuck in tight range
* Marks & Spencer surges after posting a rise in sales
* Investors cautious ahead of U.S. payrolls
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) - European shares dipped on Thursday morning, trading in a tight range ahead of the Easter break, with Greece still at the forefront of investors’ minds after the country sent an updated list of reforms to lenders.
Greece sent a new list of measures to its creditors on Wednesday to try to unlock financial aid and avoid a default. But euro zone officials said more work was needed before they could release more money.
On Wednesday Greece denied it would delay a payment to the International Monetary Fund due on April 9, after the interior minister was quoted as saying Athens would do so if it did not get fresh aid from lenders.
“Despite the denial, investors are getting concerned about Greece again. European leaders are losing patience, and we can’t exclude a spike in risk aversion in the coming weeks,” Alexandre Baradez, chief market analyst at IG France.
Shares in Marks & Spencer rose 5.4 percent after the British retailer posted its best non-food sales performance for nearly four years as it started to put its online distribution problems behind it.
Shares in French oil services group CGG gained 4.9 percent, boosted by a recommendation upgrade by Societe Generale analysts from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’. “Resilient factors justify bottom fishing. At the current price of 5.25 euros, we see value in the share,” the analysts wrote in a note.
Shares in Dutch telecommunications company KPN rose 1.8 percent after it confirmed it has had interest from potential buyers of Base, its Belgian operating arm.
At 0755 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,587.88 points, after gaining 0.3 percent on Wednesday.
Around Europe, UK’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX index was flat and France’s CAC 40 up 0.2 percent.
European markets will be closed from Friday to Monday and reopen on Tuesday.
“People are reluctant to chase the market higher today because of the U.S. payrolls coming tomorrow, when Europe will be closed. Following the ADP figures, there are some worries that the payrolls could be soft,” FXCM market analyst Vincent Ganne said.
“That said, the trend in European stocks remains quite strong, with clients calling trading floors to buy the market every time there’s a dip.”
Data on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers added the smallest number of workers in more than a year in March, well below economists’ expectations for an increase of 225,000.
The figures raised the risk that Friday’s broader U.S non-farm payrolls could be softer than economists are forecasting. A Reuters survey predicted payrolls increased 245,000 last month after rising 295,000 in February.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Hugh Lawson)