EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Head For 2-week High, With Investors Hopeful About Key U.S. Jobs Data

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.K.'s FTSE 100 on track for record close

European stocks rose for a second straight session on Friday, boosted by optimism over record stock closing levels in the U.S., with hopes high for the closely watched U.S. jobs report.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.6% to 393.84, on track for its highest close since May 16. For the week, the pan-European benchmark was set for a 0.6% advance, its biggest weekly jump since the week ending May 5, according to FactSet data.

The positive start in Europe came after "having started on the front foot yesterday, helped by a continuation of the recent theme of an improving economic environment, as further improvements in economic data fuelled a positive start to the month, which was carried on in the U.S.," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in a note.

All three major U.S. indexes ( ended at all-time highs on Thursday, after private sector jobs data in U.S. easily beat expectations. The data raised hopes the official nonfarm payrolls report, out at 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, will also paint an upbeat picture of the labor market.

Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 185,000 new jobs were added to the economy in May ( A solid number could further strengthen expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this month, as well as send a positive signal about the health of the world's largest economy.

U.S. stock futures were trading higher in the early going Friday.

Individual indexes: The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index roe 0.4% to 7,571.54, on track for a record close. The gain came as the pound continued to slide on nerves ahead of next week's U.K. general election. Polls are increasingly pointing to a tight race between Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party.

Read:5 things to know about the U.K.'s general election next week (

And see: U.K. election -- the nightmare, best and most-likely scenarios for stocks (

Germany's DAX 30 index rallied 1.2% to 12,810.09, while France's CAC 40 index gained 0.8% to 5,363.55.

Stock movers: Banks were among the biggest beneficiaries of the upbeat sentiment on Friday. The Stoxx Europe Banks Index gained 1.5%, on track for its biggest gain since April.

Shares of Credit Agricole SA (ACA.FR) moved up 2.8% in Paris, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK.XE) (DBK.XE) put on 2.6% in Frankfurt, and Barclays PLC (BCS)(BCS) added 1.4% in London.

Shares of Banco Popular Espanol SA (POP.MC) rallied 5%, rebounding after an 18% slump on Thursday. That decline came on the back of a Reuters report that a top EU watchdog has warned the Spanish bank it will have to be wound down ( unless it finds a buyer.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 02, 2017 05:26 ET (09:26 GMT)