Slim gains from miners and energy firms nudged the FTSE 100 slightly higher on Friday, but moves were muted ahead of closely watched August employment data from the United States.
By 9:10 a.m. the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was up 14.63 points or 0.3 percent at 5385.67, its sixth day of gains after it closed 0.1 percent up on Thursday. The index is up 3.4 percent this week, its strongest showing since early July.
Fears about the state of the global recovery have eased somewhat this week on surprisingly strong manufacturing data from the United States while economic figures from China and Australia also improved confidence.
Non-farm payrolls, due at 1:30 p.m., are forecast to have fallen 100,000 after declining 131,000 in July, according to a Reuters survey.
Everyone's holding their breath before payrolls, said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.
The fact remains that sentiment remains very fragile, and we'll need a sustained set of positive news before that changes.
Commodity stocks were the main support for the index, as fears about the demand outlook remained relatively subdued.
Energy giant BP
Mining groups Rio Tinto
Stock moves around the world were very limited. The MSCI Asian stock index outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> added 0.2 percent. In Japan <.N225>, stocks rose 0.3 percent, with exporters among the best performers.
Some analysts say that given the gains in markets this week, unless payrolls surprise to the upside, the number could be used as an excuse to book profits.
Just by the look of trade throughout Asia, my feeling is that risk is probably coming out of the markets heading into tonight, said Ben Potter, market strategist at IG Index in Melbourne.
People don't seem to want to carry a strong week's work over the weekend.
Investors will watch UK CIPS PMI services data for August at 9:28 a.m. for a steer on the British economy. It is expected to come in at 52.9, down from 53.10 the previous month.
In the absence of much corporate news, some investors are looking closely at technical levels.
Despite the narrow range of the Thursday trading session, the FTSE's low at 5346 confirmed the support of the 200 period simple moving average at 5342, said Raghee Horner, Autochartist Chief Market Analyst.
The short-bodied candle on the daily chart, however, shows that the September 2 session was a day of pause but not necessarily any sharp profit taking from the sharp move higher that preceded it.
(Editing by Michael Shields)