European shares gain on economic recovery hopes

LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – European shares advanced for a
second straight day on Friday on growing optimism that a key
jobs report will show the recovery in the United States, the
world’s largest economy, is gathering momentum.

At 0804 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top
European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,159.82 points after
gaining 0.2 percent in the previous session following declines
on Tuesday and Wednesday on Libya unrest.

The U.S. jobs report, due at 1330 GMT, is expected to show
that employers probably hired more workers in February than in
any month since May last year. Nonfarm payrolls rose 185,000,
according to a Reuters survey, after 36,000 jobs in January.

“It’s always dangerous to depend too much on such a volatile
series of data. The jobs report does come against still
challenging conditions in the Middle East and a positive set of
numbers would certainly be well received by the market,” said
Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Economists believe the U.S. Federal Reserve will want to see
payroll gains in excess of 200,000 for at least six to nine
months and a significant decline in unemployment before starting
to withdraw its massive monetary support from the economy.

Automobile shares were among the top gainers, with the
sector index (.SXAP: Quote, Profile, Research) rising 0.7 percent on hopes of improving
demand fro vehicles. Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 0.7 percent.
(Reporting by Atul Prakash)