(Adds details, updates prices)
* Investors cautious ahead of US jobs report
* Pan-European index flat in choppy trade
* BNP Paribas rises after cost cutting plan
* Arcelor slumps on capital raising move
By Danilo Masoni
MILAN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - European shares were little changed in choppy trade on Friday with investors reluctant to take up big positions before a key U.S. jobs report that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy outlook.
U.S. employment gains likely slowed in January as the boost to hiring from unseasonably mild weather faded, but an expected rebound in wages and a steady jobless rate will suggest the labor market recovery remains firm.
Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 190,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists.
“With the focus on the jobs report in the U.S., we don’t expect a very dynamic market today in Europe,” Johannes Mayr, head of economic research at Munich-based bank BayernLB.
Mayr said he expected the Federal Reserve to raise rates only one more time this year, adding the jobs report would probably not change the picture.
“The Fed is more concerned about the developments in China and financial markets,” he said.
By 0911 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was up 0.03 percent at 1,294 points, after a fall of 0.15 percent in the previous session.
BNP Paribas was among the top gainers, up 4.8 percent, after France’s biggest bank presented plans to cut investment banking costs in a bid to bolster profitability and said it would quit some activities to fuel growth.
“The numbers were not great, but they were still better than those from UBS and Credit Suisse earlier this week... The fact that they are looking to cut back on expenses is also good as it should help their cost/income ratio,” said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Geneva-based PrimePartners.
Hexagon was the biggest gainer on the FTSEurofirst 300 after the measurement technology firm posted quarterly operating profit that beat forecasts.
Nokian Tyres rose 7.8 percent after better-than-expected earnings, while French builder Vinci rose 2 percent after predicting higher profits and a slight fall in revenues this year.
ArcelorMittal fell 5.4 percent after the world’s largest steelmaker unveiled plans to raise $3 billion in fresh capital in a bid to reduce debt in the face of weak steel and mining sectors.
Analysts at Jefferies said the capital increase was a step in the right direction as it should significantly bolster the balance sheet. “But, with poor earnings and free cash flow prospects, risk of disappointment remains,” they said, confirming their underperform rating.
Miners fell 1.6 percent, making them the top sectoral loser after staging on Thursday their biggest one-day gain since September 2011.
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in London; Editing by Tom Heneghan)