Europe close: Investors bide their time ahead of US jobs report
European stocks were little changed on Thursday, as investors awaited the release of the monthly non-farm payrolls report the next day.
The benchmark Stoxx 600 index was up 0.31% at 474.60, while Germany’s DAX was 0.1% higher to 15,840.59 and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.06% at 6,763.08.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "Stock markets are treading water once more as we near the end of the week and the highly anticipated US jobs report.
"The data we had from the US yesterday suggests markets need to rein in expectations for Friday's NFP reading, with the ADP report missing by almost half and the ISM manufacturing employment sub-index slipping back into contraction territory. Of course, the ADP is hardly a reliable precursor but that was a huge miss so it's hard to ignore.
"Thankfully, as this may force a more cautious and patient approach from the Fed when it comes to tapering and interest rate hikes, it's seemingly been welcomed by the markets. That will make tomorrow's jobs report all the more interesting as a reading at, or above, expectations of 750,000 may be a nasty shock, despite being a healthy sign for the economy."
In equity markets, London-listed engineer and GKN owner Melrose Industries rallied after saying it was trading ahead of expectations as the turnaround company reported a narrower loss for the first half of 2021. The company reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £151m for the six months to the end of June compared with a £585m loss a year earlier as revenue rose to £3.54bn from £3.39bn.
Elsewhere, biopharmaceutical company Swedish Orphan Biovitrum surged after US private equity firm Advent International and Aurora Investment offered to buy the group in a deal valued at about 69.4bn Swedish crowns.