FTSE and sterling both push higher after positive jobs figures


The London markets and sterling both closed higher despite slow starts after traders welcomed positive figures for the economy for a second consecutive day.

The FTSE 100 closed 32.14 points higher at 7,267.95 on Tuesday.

Record high employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday added to market optimism after a surprise return to GDP growth was reported on Monday.

The number of people in work rose by 31,000 to 32.78 million in the three months to July, the ONS said.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Like the FTSE, sterling managed to shake off its initial sluggishness, mainly thanks to the UK jobs report.

“Though there were warning signs that the labour market is cooling, the headline figures were pretty stellar.”

Sterling benefited, pushing higher against both the dollar and euro.

The pound was 0.09% up versus the US dollar at 1.235, and up 0.11% against the euro at 1.118.

The European markets were largely positive, closing higher ahead of the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision on Thursday.

The German Dax increased by 0.35% while the French Cac moved 0.08% higher.

The Dow Jones opened lower as it shed around 100 points on the back of worrying Chinese factory readings.

In stocks, shares in Galliford Try jumped higher after Bovis Homes announced it has rekindled talks to buy the rival’s housebuilding arm.

Bovis has agreed basic terms on a deal to buy Galliford’s Linden Homes and Partnerships & Regeneration units in a deal valuing the division at £1.1 billion.

Bovis Homes stock
Bovis Homes stock

Shares in Galliford jumped higher, closing up 49p at 664p at the end of the day.

However, traders were more pessimistic about Bovis’s part in the deal, as shares in Bovis closed 37p lower at 1,022p.

Elsewhere, shares in JD Sports hit an all-time high as the retailer continued to defy the current high street gloom.

Sales in the UK jumped 10% on a like-for-like basis, with bosses saying customers have been reacting positively to the retailer’s push towards more premium products and a strong online business.

Shares in the company closed 55.6p higher at 688.2p at the end of trading.

Gambling firm 888 Holdings saw shares slide after it raised concerns over Brexit and said profits were weighed down by rising online gaming taxes. Shares in 888 fell 14.6p to 154.2p.

Supermarket supplier Bakkavor saw shares spike higher after it said it expects an “uplift” in performance over the second half of the year after profits fell by more than half.

The company’s shares closed 8.6p higher at 116p on Tuesday.

The price of oil pushed higher before losing most of its gains after US President Donald Trump announced he had fired national security adviser John Bolton.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil jumped by 0.18% to 62.75 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were JD Sports, up 55.6p at 688.2p, Barclays, up 6.9p at 147.68p, Lloyds Banking Group, up 1.75p at 51.93p, and IAG, up 17.2p at 440.7p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Just Eat, down 50p at 710p, Aveva, down 184p at 3,474p, Sage Group, down 28.4p at 664.4p, and Experian, down 105p at 2,470p.