EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Perk Up As U.S. Jobs Data Claim Key Focus

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Euro slips below $1.19

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European stocks advanced for a third straight session on Friday, kicking off September in an upbeat mood as investors waited for the latest U.S. jobs report to gauge the next move from the Federal Reserve.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.4% to 375.47, setting it on track for a 0.4% rise for the week.

The pan-European benchmark on Thursday closed 0.8% higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-advance-as-miners-shine-but-head-for-monthly-loss-2017-08-31), but still ended down 1.1% for August, marking a third straight month of declines.

"For now, the downtrend that has been in place since the middle of the summer shows no signs of reversing, and while the euro continues to look as if it might head higher and through the $1.2000 level, it is hard to see how European stocks can break out of their summer malaise and start to head back towards their recent peaks," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The euro has recently rallied to its highest level since early 2015 on expectations a stronger eurozone economy will spur the European Central Bank to start tightening its aggressive easing program. The ECB meets next week, with central bank boss Mario Draghi expected to lay out plans for tapering of the bank's bond-buying scheme.

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The shared currency bought $1.1895 on Friday, down from $1.1910 late Thursday in New York.

Investors on both sides of the pond were eagerly awaiting the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for August, due at 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 170,000 jobs were added last month, down from 209,000 in July.

"A read above 200,000 could revive the dollar bulls, without however improving the Federal Reserve rate hike expectations significantly. The probability of a December rate hike stands at a timid 33.8%," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, in a note.

Read:August employment report likely to show U.S. kept pumping out jobs in late summer (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/august-employment-report-likely-to-show-us-kept-pumping-out-jobs-in-late-summer-2017-08-31)

Economic news: In Europe, the final manufacturing purchasing managers index for August printed in line with the flash estimate at 57.4, up from 56.6 in July.

The U.K.'s manufacturing PMI unexpectedly jumped to a four-month high at 56.9, up from a revised 55.3 in July.

The pound erased its loss after the data, fetching $1.2931, around the same level logged late Thursday in New York.

Indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index advanced 0.5% to 12,114.43, while France's 40 index added 0.7% to 5,121.16.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index picked up 0.2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-stocks-rise-for-3rd-day-ahead-of-pmi-report-us-jobs-data-2017-09-01) to 7,444.51.

Stock movers: Shares of Gemalto NV (GTO.AE) fell 3.7% after the Dutch digital security company reported a 46% drop in first-half operating profit.

Vivendi SA (VIV.FR) rallied 4.9% after the French media conglomerate late Thursday confirmed its outlook for the year and reported better-than-forecast core-profit growth.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA.XE) put on 1.4% after Bernstein upgraded the airline to market-perform from underperform.

Shares of Airbus SE (AIR.FR) rose 1.7% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifted the company to neutral from outperform, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 01, 2017 05:21 ET (09:21 GMT)