- US non-farm payrolls to be released
- Germany factory orders rise less than forecast
- Eurozone retail PMI shows contraction
FTSE 100: 0.40%
CAC 40: 0.27%
FTSE MIB: 0.10%
IBEX 35: -0.03%
Stoxx 600: 0.14%
European stocks were mostly higher as investors awaited the release of US jobs data to gauge the health of the world's biggest economy.
The Labor Department will release its non-farm payrolls figures which analysts predict will reveal the US economy created 200,000 more jobs in March.
The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.6% in March from 6.7% a month earlier.
It comes after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday said the US labour market remained weak and extraordinary policy was "still needed and will be for some time to come".
However, forecasts for today's report are high following the ADP employment figures on Wednesday which came in close to predictions.
"The focus remains entirely on the US today, as we wait to see whether the nation can bounce back from the winter slump in job creation," said IG Market Analyst, Chris Beauchamp.
Markit's retail purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the Eurozone showed that the retail sector contracted for the second straight month in March with a reading of 49.2, higher than the prior month's 48.5 but below the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction.
Markit's PMI for German construction fell to 52.4 in March from 53.6 a month earlier.
German factory orders rose by 6.1% year-on-year in February, easing back from January's 7.08% increase and missing analysts' estimates for a 6.8% advance.
The weak data comes a day after the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep policy unchanged despite calls for greater measures to support the recovery of the euro-area.
On a brighter note for the Eurozone, Spanish five-year bond yields fell below equivalent Treasury rates for the first time since 2007.
Renault gained after Les Echos reported that the French carmaker's labour costs have fallen more than 4% since reaching an agreement on increased working time with staff last year.
easyJet advanced after the European airline said the number of passengers in March rose 4.8% to 5,107,676.
Tesco declined on speculation that its Finance Chief Laurie McIlwee could quit in the coming days amid falling profits and a recent decline in market share. McIlwee has worked for Tesco for 15 years.
Retail peers Marks & Spencer, Kingfisher and Morrison were also in the red this morning.
The euro fell 0.09% to $1.3708.
Brent crude futures rose $0.403 to $106.580 per barrel, according to the ICE.