GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares, euro steady before US jobs data

* Stocks add slightly to two-week closing high

* Euro steady, approaching key technical level

* Bunds open flat; market eyes scale of ECB bond buying

* U.S. non-farm payrolls data in focus, due 1330 GMT

By Simon Jessop

LONDON, Dec 3 (BestGrowthStock) – European shares were little
changed in early trade ahead of the release of fresh U.S. jobs
data later on Friday, while the euro also paused for breath
after bouncing from a 2-1/2 month low.

Traders were unwilling to take big positions in either asset
class ahead of the much-watched payrolls data, and were seeking
further evidence about the extent of European Central Bank bond
buying, which had fuelled markets in the previous session.

Bund futures (FGBLc1: ) opened flat, with traders waiting to
see if the ECB buys bonds in any size, in spite of the bank’s
president, Jean-Claude Trichet, refusing to respond to market
speculation that it would mount a much more aggressive
bond-buying programme. [GVD/EUR]

“It’s really all about what the ECB does today. The ECB
really are the only buyer,” a trader said.

After previously rallying on talk of the ECB bond buying, in
the hope it would help shore up confidence in the euro zone
periphery, the single currency was steady in early trade on
Friday, hovering around a key technical resistance level.

The euro (EUR=: ) was trading at $1.3236 at 0850 GMT, above a
2-1/2 month low hit on Tuesday and just below its 100-day moving
average and below key resistance at $1.3334-64, its August peak
and a 38.2 percent retracement of the June-November rally.

“I suspect the euro has bottomed out in the near term and
will test $1.33-34,” said a trader at a Japanese brokerage
house.

The benchmark FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) share index opened
marginally higher, after closing the previous session at a
two-week high, a move that could be extended if the U.S. jobs
data is positive, London-based Justin Urquhart Stewart, director
at Seven Investment Management, said.

“There’s a positive tone to the market, despite all the
negative news on sovereign debt … If the payrolls are
positive, it could easily push the market even higher,” he said.

A strong overnight showing in U.S. stock markets had slowed
by the close of play in Asia, with gains of just 0.1 percent in
the Nikkei (.N225: ), mostly on buying in technology shares.

JOBS IN FOCUS

Oil was steady near 25-month highs following a slew of
upbeat U.S. economic data that boded well for demand from the
world’s top user, and ahead of the jobs report which is expected
to show employment expanded for a second straight month in
November. [O/R]

Nonfarm payrolls are forecast to have risen 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]

Such a positive reading would add further weight to the
notion the country’s recovery is picking up pace, and follows
data showing the number of jobless benefits claimants hit a
two-year low last week.

Service sector surveys from the euro zone will also be
watched.
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; editing by Mike Peacock)

GLOBAL MARKETS-European shares, euro steady before US jobs data