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EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Aim To Break 5-day Losing Streak

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch LONDON (MarketWatch) -- After five days mired in the red, European stock markets moved higher on Friday, as investors awaited the U.S. jobs report and whether it will strengthen the tapering argument for the Federal Reserve. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.3% to 315.26, trimming its weekly loss to 3%. Shares of Berkeley Group Holdings PLC rallied 7.1% after a well-received earnings report from the property firm. Shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) climbed 2.7% after HSBC initiated coverage of the oil major with an overweight rating. HSBC also started coverage of Total SA (TOT), up 0.5%, BP PLC (BP), 0.6% higher, and BG Group PLC , up 0.8%, with overweight ratings. The analysts said the sector remains out of favor with investors, but that the companies' robust underlying cash flows aren't being recognized. More broadly, investors waited for the data highlight of the week in the form of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls out at 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 180,000 new jobs to have been added to the economy in November, while the unemployment rate is likely to fall to 7.2% from 7.3%. A strong number could spark a selloff in the equity markets, as it would give the Federal Reserve more evidence that the economy is improving and strengthen the case for tapering its $85-billion-a-month asset purchases. What to look for in U.S. employment report U.S. stock futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street. Among country-specific indexes in Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5% to 6,528.17 and France's CAC 40 index gained 0.2% to 4,107.03. Germany's DAX 30 index picked up 0.5% to 9,126.01. Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) helped boost the U.K. benchmark, rising 1% after Berenberg lifted the telecom firm to buy from hold and Exane BNP Paribas upgraded it to neutral from underperform. Exane also upgraded Deutsche Telekom AG to outperform from neutral, sending the shares 0.9% higher in Frankfurt. Shares of STMicroelectronics NV dropped 1.8% in Paris after NYSE Euronext said late Thursday the chip maker will be removed from the CAC 40 index and be replaced by Alcatel-Lucent effective Dec. 23. Alcatel shares were down 0.3%. More must-reads from MarketWatch: What bubble? Corporate profits reach new record as share of GDP Spotify plans free mobile version of its service Year-end tax tips for retirees and preretirees Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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