Weak US jobs data pulls European markets into the red

London’s markets edged lower as a solid start across Europe took a downwards turn after the latest US jobs data came in well below targets.

Traders were shaken after the latest November jobs report showed that 210,000 new jobs were added in November, falling short of estimates of 550,000.

London was nevertheless better sheltered than its counterparts, as it benefited from solid performances for BP and Shell.

The FTSE 100 closed 6.89 points, or 0.1%, lower, at 7,122.32 on Friday.

Oliver Males, financials analyst at Spreadex, said: “European stocks started the day off well, and had highs of 0.94% (FTSE), 1.47% (Dax) and 1.13% (Cac).

“However, they are all now in the red mainly due to the US jobs data missing expectations.

“The initial gains were mainly due to concerns over the Omicron strain easing, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated yesterday that although it may be more transmissible, it seems less deadly.”

The German Dax decreased by 0.61% and the French Cac decreased by 0.44%.

Wall Street unsurprisingly took the latest data particularly heavily, with the key markets sliding as traders chose to focus more on currency.

Meanwhile, sterling had another major slump against the euro after typically hawkish Bank of England rate setter Michael Saunders appeared to cool his enthusiasm for a possible rate rise later this month.

The pound moved 0.09% higher versus the US dollar at 1.323, and decreased 0.17% against the euro at 1.170.

In company news, DIY retailer Wickes saw shares jump after it said profits are set to surpass the firm’s expectations as it continued to benefit from the pandemic home improvement boom.

The company said it has managed to avoid getting caught up in the supply chain issues facing the industry but warned that recent changes in Covid restrictions means predicting future trading remains challenging.

Investors were nevertheless positive and shares climbed by 24.2p to 239.2p as a result.

Mixer manufacturer East Imperial was another big winner on Friday, as its shared fizzed following the appointment of two retail veterans to its board.

Former New Look boss Alistair McGeorge and former Jaeger chief executive Colin Henry were confirmed as non-executives at the company following a lengthy campaign by shareholder Corvus Capital.

Shares finished the day 2.75p higher at 13.25p.

Elsewhere, Beowulf Mining shares jumped as investors reacted to comments from the new Swedish Prime Minister about the need for more mines in Sweden.

The firm, which is awaiting the result of an application for a concession at the Kallak iron ore resource in Sweden, rose by 2.5p to 9.75p.

The price of oil rebounded further from three-month lows despite OPEC+ confirming its surprise decision to go head with a planned hike in output next month.

Brent crude increased 2.71% at 71.56 dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Kingfisher, up 8.1p to 331p, Pearson, up 12.8p to 589p, Berkeley Group, up 90p to 4,549p, DCC, up 100p to 5,742p, and Abrdn, up 3.9p to 336.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, down 54p to 1,626.5p, United Utilities, down 143p to 4,578.5p, Anglo American, down 83p to 2,717p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 40p to 1,396.5p, and BHP, down 58p to 2,041.5p.