Mood cautious before U.S. jobs data, euro nurses losses

Fri Apr 4, 2014 6:57am EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Investors took to the sidelines ahead of what was expected to be an encouraging U.S. employment report on Friday, while the euro nursed losses after the European Central Bank opened the door to more aggressive easing if needed.

The March U.S. non-farm payrolls report will serve as a test of the argument that the economic weakness of January and February was due to bad weather and the recovery of the world's biggest market is still on track.

Median forecasts are for a rise of 200,000 in payrolls, though dealers said the market was now edging more towards something nearer 220,000, which would reassure the optimists and tend to underpin the dollar and stocks.

"We're pretty upbeat about the payrolls," Fahran Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said.

Early futures prices pointed to a cautiously positive start for Wall Street, although pricing was little more than speculation with the jobs data due out at 8.30 a.m. ET, an hour before New York trading resumes.

World shares .MIWD00000PUS, after wobbling in February and March, have returned to six-year highs this week and were heading for their third consecutive week of gains.

European shares .FTEU3 were in a pre-jobs data holding pattern as midday approached, but a slender 0.1 percent gain put them on course for their ninth positive session.

Most attention, however, remained on the euro and southern European bonds after Thursday's declaration from the ECB that it was now seriously considering the kind of aggressive asset buying employed by the United States, Japan and Britain.   Continued...

A man smokes a cigarette outside The London Stock Exchange November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh