European stocks edged higher on Thursday morning as investors geared up for the next reading of U.S. nonfarm payrolls which is due Friday.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 0.3% by mid-morning, with travel and leisure stocks climbing 1.1% to lead gains while basic resources dropped 0.6%.
Investors around the world are closely watching data releases from the U.S. in the next few days. The markets are expecting the weekly initial jobless claims report Thursday and the Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
The nonfarm payrolls report for August is expected to show 720,000 new jobs added and an unemployment rate falling to 5.2%, according to Dow Jones estimates.
The data could influence when the U.S. Federal Reserve begins to taper its asset purchase program, and the policy direction of central banks in Europe. U.S. stock futures were little changed on Wednesday night.
Recent statements out of the central bank indicate that it likely will slow the pace of its monthly purchases of bonds so long as job growth continues apace.
In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they are working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials.
In terms of individual share price movement, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum shares surged more than 24% after U.S. venture capital firm Advent International and Aurora Investment offered to buy the Stockholm-based biopharmaceutical company for 235 Swedish krone ($27.30) per share.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, mining giant BHP slid 6% as it traded ex-dividend.