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Europe: Stock markets push ahead at open

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[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets chugged higher at the start of trading on Friday, ahead of the release of hotly-anticipated US non-farm payrolls data.

In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip firms advanced 0.2 per cent to 7,447.83 points compared with the closing level on Thursday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index won almost 0.4 per cent to 12,101.15 points and the CAC 40 in Paris was 0.6 per cent higher at 5,117.19.

"September is here and, being the first Friday of the month, the US non-farm payrolls (NFP) report is scheduled for release," said Konstantinos Anthis, research analyst at trading group ADS Securities.

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The labour market figures would be closely watched by investors and speculators, especially given the timing of the report, the expert said.

"This is the last NFP report before the September Federal Reserve meeting and even though we know that the central bank will not raise rates now the market wants to know whether they have enough headroom to start normalizing their balance sheet," Mr Anthis said.

"Market participants know that, depending on the way the figures print today, the Fed will be one step closer or farther from tightening their monetary policy."

AFP