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Europe stocks close higher as traders gear up for U.S. jobs data; Swedish biotech up 26%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.4%, with oil and gas stocks adding 2% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.
  • U.S. first-time unemployment insurance claims totaled 340,000 for the week ended Aug. 28, versus a Dow Jones expectation of 345,000.
  • Swedish Orphan Biovitrum shares surged nearly 26% after receiving a takeover offer from Advent International and Aurora Investment.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Thursday as investors geared up for the next reading of U.S. nonfarm payrolls which is due Friday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session down by nearly 0.4% provisionally, with oil and gas stocks adding 2% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.

Investors around the world are closely watching data releases from the U.S. this week. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 340,000 for the week ended Aug. 28, versus a Dow Jones expectation of 345,000. The number is also the lowest since March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid crisis.

The number boosted U.S. equity markets, with the S&P 500 rising to a record high.

The U.S. Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls report is due Friday. The August data is expected to show 720,000 new jobs added and an unemployment rate falling to 5.2%, according to Dow Jones estimates.

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The data could influence when the U.S. Federal Reserve begins to taper its asset purchase program, and the policy direction of central banks in Europe.

In Covid vaccine developments, Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical announced Wednesday they are working with Japanese authorities to recall several batches after stainless steel contaminants were discovered in some vials.

In terms of individual share price movement, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum shares surged nearly 26% after investment firms Advent International and Aurora Investment offered to buy the Stockholm-based biopharmaceutical company for 235 Swedish krone ($27.30) per share.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, British online trading firm IG Group tumbled 11%. Mining giant BHP slid 5.6% as it traded ex-dividend.

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– CNBC's Ryan Browne, Eustance Huang, Jeff Cox and Tanaya Macheel contributed to this report.

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