European shares edged higher in early trade on Friday, after gains in the United States and Japan, but with traders cautious ahead of a key labour market report.

At 8:09 a.m., the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,057.54 points, on course for a rise of more than 3 percent over the week.

People are watching the growth in (U.S.) private sector employment, which is likely to be too low to be good enough for the economy, said Bernard McAlinden, investment strategist at NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin.

The market is going up on relatively unconvincing economic data. It just needs to know there won't be a double dip. There's no competition from interest rates and bond yields.

The heavyweight banking sector was among the gainers, in a broad market rise. Deutsche Bank and UniCredit rose 0.5 and 0.4 percent respectively.

(Reporting by Brian Gorman)