LONDON Feb 1 European shares inched up on
Friday, as investors took advantage of the past two sessions'
losses to snap up equities more cheaply, reassured by a run of
solid data from China, Europe and the United States.
An above-forecast reading on the U.S. manufacturing sector
from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), coupled with
upward revisions for previous months' non-farm payrolls offered
proof of recovery in the world's biggest economy.
That helped equities build on earlier gains after purchasing
managers indexes pointed to stabilisation in the euro zone and a
mild recovery in China.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally
closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,167.62 points, clawing back some
of the retreat suffered in the previous two sessions and edging
towards a 2-year peak of 1,178.55 set earlier in the week.
"Given the trauma that equities have been through in the
last few months, people want things to be positive. There are
hurdles ahead but people are just willing the markets to do
really well," said Neil Marsh, strategist at Newedge.
"There is a gradual trend upwards and I don't see that
stopping at the moment."