European shares close up ahead of U.S. earnings

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – European shares ended higher on
Friday, led by miners tracking stronger metal prices and
investors positioning themselves for an expected positive start
to the U.S. earnings season next week.

Precious metal and copper miners were in demand as gold
(XAU=: Quote, Profile, Research) hit a record high after the dollar weakened on the
prospect of a U.S. government shutdown and copper (CMCU3: Quote, Profile, Research) hit
its highest in a month on expectations of increasing demand.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo (FRES.L: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 2.4 percent,
while copper miners Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Xstrata (XTA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) were
up 1.9 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top
shares provisionally closed up 0.2 percent at 1,146.66 points,
above its 50-day moving average after closing below it on
Thursday when investors took profits on concerns about an
aftershock in northeastern Japan.

“The next big thing is the U.S. earnings season,” Matt
Brown, trader at Catalyst Markets said. “If we want the market
to have further momentum, we need the upside surprises to
continue, otherwise investors may step away.”

The earnings season will begin with Alcoa Inc (AA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) after
the market’s close on Monday, while JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research)
and Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) are due to report later in the week.
(Reporting by Joanne Frearson)

European shares close up ahead of U.S. earnings