European stocks steady ahead U.S. jobs data, airlines slide

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June 4 (Reuters) - European stocks inched higher on Friday in cautious trading ahead of U.S. jobs data, with economic recovery hopes putting the main benchmark on course for its third weekly gain.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2% by 0709 GMT, trading just below its record high hit earlier this week. The benchmark was on track to record a 0.6% weekly rise.

All eyes are on the U.S. May payrolls data later in the day, with a strong number likely to add to fears about the Federal Reserve paring back its massive stimulus programme quicker.

Utilities, financial services and healthcare companies were the top sectoral gainers on STOXX 600, rising about half a percent each.

Shares in British Airways-owner IAG, Wizz Air and easyJet slipped more than 1% after Britain added seven countries, including Egypt and Sri Lanka, to its “red list” of destinations that require hotel quarantine on return to England. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)