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* Pan-European STOXX index up 0.3 percent
* Gains in utilities, pharma offset by weaker banks
* SBM Offshore plummets as Brazil prosecutors reject
* Accor lifted by upgrade
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, Sept 2 European shares rose on Friday,
but stayed within recent tight ranges as investors waited key
U.S. jobs data later in the day for clues about the Federal
Reserve's next interest rate hike.
The pan-European STOXX index was up 0.3 percent by
0848 GMT, following a flat close in the previous session, with
gains among defensive stocks such as healthcare and utilities
partly offset by weaker banks.
U.S. employment growth likely moderated in August, but was
probably still strong enough to push the Federal Reserve to
raise interest rates later this year.
Economists expect U.S. nonfarm payrolls to have increased by
180,000 jobs last month. The data is due at 1230 GMT.
Some investors said a number of between 130,00 and 190,000
would confirm expectations for one rate hike in December, while
for a September hike a figure well above 200,000 is needed.
"We still maintain our view that there will be no September
hike. Theoretically, a strong data today could push the central
bank to act, especially in view of its now obviously damaged
credibility," Swissquote Bank market analyst Arnaud Masset said.
"However, in our view, U.S. economic health is largely
overestimated and so we do not predict a strong figure today,"
Masset added in a note.
The STOXX bank index fell 0.3 percent, snapping a
three-day winning streak fueled by expectations of a rate hike
in the United States as early as September.
The index was the worst sectoral faller in Europe.
Shares in Banco Santander, Barclays and
Deutsche Bank were down between 0.8 percent and 1.2
percent, while Intesa Sanpaolo added 0.9 percent.
SBM Offshore plunged 11.4 percent, leading the
STOXX losers, after prosecutors in Brazil rejected a deal
allowing the Dutch oil-ship lessor to avoid prosecution for
corruption related to contracts with oil group Petrobras.
Rocket Internet fell 8.5 percent after the German
e-commerce investor reported a first-half loss mainly due to
impairments at Global Fashion Group.
Accor was the biggest gainer, up 3.4 percent,
boosted by an upgrade from Barclays, while the best sectoral
performers in Europe were utilities and healthcare
which rebounded from recent losses.
(Editing by David Holmes)