Europe shares hold steady ahead of U.S. jobs data

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.1 percent

* U.S. non-farm payrolls awaited at 1330 GMT

* Miners gain as copper prices edge up

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click on [STXNEWS/EU]

By Harpreet Bhal

LONDON, Dec 3 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares edged up on
Friday, with gains in miners just outperforming a weak pharma
sector ahead of a U.S. job report that is expected to show
further evidence of strength in the economic recovery.

Talk that the European Central Bank (ECB) was buying small
chunks of Portuguese and Irish bonds to stem a destabilising
rise in peripheral countries also helped calm some jitters over
the euro zone debt crisis. [ID:nLDE6B20AX]

By 1220 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: )
index of top shares was up 0.1 percent at 1,106.97 points, after
hitting a two-week closing high on Thursday.

Volumes were thin at just 42 percent of the 90-day average,
as investors were reluctant to take on large positions before
the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls data at 1330 GMT.

Nonfarm payrolls likely rose 140,000, with private hiring
increasing by more than 100,000 for a fifth straight month in
November, according to a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate
is forecast to have held steady at 9.6 percent. [ID:nN02238002]

“Today’s payrolls always have the ability to pull the rug
out from recent gains, but it does feel as if investors are less
pessimistic this week and we’re seeing a bit more optimism out
there,” said Ben Critchley, sales trader at IG Index.

Mining shares rose, with the STOXX Europe 600 basic
resources index (.SXPP: ) up 0.3 percent, as copper prices edged
up on production concerns and waning worries over the euro zone
debt crisis.

Anglo American (AAL.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ) and Vedanta
Resources (VED.L: ) rose 0.8 to 1.2 percent.

On the downside defensive drugmakers were lower, with the
STOXX Europe 600 healthcare index (.SXDP: ) down 0.7 percent
following gains in the previous session.

EU antitrust regulators have raided the offices of some
pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca (AZN.L: ),
suspected of colluding to block the market entry of cheaper
generic drugs. The stock shed 0.6 percent.

RECOVERY EYED

Upbeat U.S. manufacturing and housing market figures earlier
this week lifted confidence in the pace of economic recovery and
helped equities push higher as concerns over the debt troubles
peripheral European states abated.

In the euro zone, the service sector grew in November due to
strengthening German and French business, but highly indebted
Ireland and Spain continued to lag behind, business surveys
showed on Friday. [ID:nSLA2NE6K0]

The FTSEurofirst 300 index is on track to rise 1.8 percent
this week. The technical picture also looks supportive, with the
index’s 50-day moving average continuing to trade higher than
its 200-day moving average.

“Several elements allow us expecting further upside. Thus,
the 50-day simple moving average is ascending and plays a
support role,” said Philippe Delabarre, technical analyst at
Trading Central.

Among individual movers, Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: ) rose 2
percent on a report that the stock exchange operator is in talks
to form alliances in Russia, which could include an equity swap.
[ID:nLDE6B20HV]

World number two truck maker Volvo (VOLVb.ST: ) rose 3.1
percent after data showing North American industry orders for
heavy-duty trucks rose a sequential 39 percent in November, well
above the expectations of some analysts.

On the downside, Man Group (EMG.L: ) fell 3.2 percent after
Numis Securities cut its rating for the hedge fund firm to
“reduce” from “hold”.
(Editing by David Holmes)

Europe shares hold steady ahead of U.S. jobs data