- US non-farm payrolls in focus
- Obama urges Russian diplomacy
FTSE 100: -0.32%
CAC 40: -0.17%
FTSE MIB: -0.31%
IBEX 35: 0.32%
Stoxx 600: -0.28%
European stocks were little changed before the release of US jobs data which is expected to show employers added more jobs last month.
Analysts predict the Labor Department's official non-farm payrolls report 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 unveiled 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 keeping a close watch on the labour market in creating its policies.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the central bank is likely to continue scaling back monthly asset purchases until ending the programme all together later this year, despite noting that the jobs market still has a long way to go.
"Too many Americans still can't find a job or are forced to work part-time," she said at her Congressional swearing in.
"The goals set by Congress for the Federal Reserve are clear: maximum employment and stable prices."
The Fed's next meeting is on March 18th to 19th.
Obama urges Russia to accept diplomacy deal
US President Barack Obama has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the terms of a potential diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis during a telephone conversation between the two.
Crimea's parliament voted on Thursday to join Russia, and announced they will hold a referendum in nine days, sparking an escalation in the turmoil.
Obama has ordered sanctions on those responsible for Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. European Union leaders have joined the US in its bid to end the geopolitical rivalry.
Telecom Italia, Fugro
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.
Fraport dropped after the German airport company posted earnings for last year that fell short of projections.
The euro climbed 0.08% to $1.3872.
Brent crude futures rose $0.037 to $108.140 per barrel, according to the ICE.