- US non-farm payrolls report in focus
- German industrial production rises
- Russia rebuffs Obama's plea
rallies on ECB meeting
FTSE 100: 0.78%
CAC 40: -0.19%
FTSE MIB: -0.08%
IBEX 35: 1.89%
Stoxx 600: 0.23%
European stocks were mixed as traders awaited the US Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report.
Analysts predict the non-farm payrolls report, released this afternoon, will reveal 150,000 more jobs were added to the US economy in February, compared to 113,000 a month earlier. The jobless rate is forecast to hold at 6.6%.
The latest figures follow Thursday's initial jobless claims release which revealed that 323,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the week to February 28th, compared to 349,000 a week earlier. Economists had expected 336,000 claims.
On Wednesday, ADP said the private sector added 139,000 jobs in February, falling short of economists' estimates for a gain of 160,000 jobs. January's number was revised downward by 48,000 to 127,000 jobs.
The Federal Reserve is monitoring the labour market as it prepares for its next policy meeting on March 18th and 19th.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has indicated that the central bank is likely to continue reducing monthly asset purchases at each meeting until ending it all together later this year.
"A third consecutive month of weak payroll growth in February would raise speculation that the Fed will pause the tapering of its asset purchases," Capital Economics said. "But because any weakness was probably due to the unusually bad weather, we believe the Fed will stick to its current tapering plans."
German industrial production rises
Germany's industrial production expanded at a 0.8% month-on-month in January, beating the consensus forecast for a 0.7% increase.
December's figure was also revised to a 0.1% rise from the prior reading of a 0.6% drop.
In year-on-year terms, January factory production rose by 5.0%, beating expectations for growth of 3.9%. December's data was also revised to 3.4% growth from the prior reading of a 2.6% advance.
Putin snubs Obama's diplomacy efforts
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ignored a warning from US President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea.
Following a telephone conversation with Obama, Putin released a statement today saying that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine.
Crimea has voted to join Russia and a referendum will be held in nine days.
European Union leaders and Obama condemned the referendum, saying it would violate Ukraine's constitution.
The turmoil erupted from the ousting of Russian-backed Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich.
Getinge, Air France
Getinge edged lower as the Swedish maker of sterilisation systems forecast first-quarter pre-tax profit that missed market expectations.
Air France gained after reporting strong February traffic statistics and load factor.
Telecom Italia declined after scrapping its dividend for the first time in its history as a public company after reporting a 2013 net loss.
Fugro slumped after the oil-field surveyor posted full-year revenue that fell short of analysts' forecasts.
UK insurance firm Aviva was continuing to rise despite an 8% surge yesterday as investors continued to celebrate a better-than-expected set of annual figures.
Fraport dropped after the German airport company posted earnings for last year that fell short of projections.
The euro jumped 0.36% to $1.3911, a day after European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said inflation would rise gradually towards its 2% target.
Brent crude futures held at $108.100 per barrel, according to the ICE.