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Europe open: Shares muted as investors eye US jobs data, UK politics

By Frank Prenesti

European shares were in subdued mood at the open on Friday as investors eyed monthly US jobs data later in the day and political developments in London after the ill-tempered resignation, but not departure, of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index had barely moved the needle, down 0.08% in early deals after solid rises over the previous two days.

Continental markets were mixed, with the UK’s FTSE flat after Boris Johnson resigned as Conservative Party leader but refused to leave as prime minister after a string of scandals and allegations of cronyism finally forced ministers to revolt.

Market sentiment was also hit by the shooting of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

US non-farm payrolls report are due at 1230 GMT and forecast to show jobs growth slowed in June and the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.6%.

“This is likely to be a double-edged sword for investors. While the data is expected to show another round of strong hiring, which is inherently positive, it also paves the way for policymakers to hike interest rates even more aggressively,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

“This is an upside-down situation whereby the announcement of a stronger economic foundation could be viewed as a catalyst for increased market jitters.”

In equity news, Swedish Match AB rose 1.3% after a media report that the activist investment firm Elliott Investment Management is building a stake in tobacco and nicotine products maker.

Shares in French power company EDF rose 5% as the government prepared to nationalise the troubled business.

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