London: European shares edged up in early trade on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street, as encouraging employment figures from the United States boosted confidence that the economic recovery was on a stronger footing.
By 1:32pm, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares was up 0.4% at 1,146.86 points, after closing flat on Wednesday off its intraday lows.
Sentiment was boosted by a jump in the ADP private payrolls to nearly triple the forecast, prompting economists to hike their estimates for Friday’s crucial US non-farm payrolls.
“The data that we have seen up to November has been pretty solid but one thing that has been lagging is the employment market in the US and there is a feeling that to really underpin the recovery, the job market needs to turnaround,” said Giles Watts, head of equities at City Index.
Banks gained, with the STOXX Europe 600 banking index up 0.3%, though KBC bucked the trend by falling 3.3%, after saying it would make one-off provisions of between 315 and 330 million euros for the Irish loan book and an isolated case of irregularities at KBC Lease UK.