FTSE finishes in the black after US jobs report buoys markets

The FTSE 100 closed in positive territory after traders welcomed a better-than-expected jobs report in the US.

The latest US non-farm jobs report revealed that 1.78 million jobs were created this month, ahead of the 1.65 million consensus estimate.

Traders also welcomed the fall in the rate of unemployment, buoying global sentiment regarding the rate of economic recovery.

London’s top flight closed 5.24 points higher at 6,032.18 at the end of trading on Friday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Market, said: “European stocks were fractionally higher this afternoon as the US non-farm payrolls report was well-received.

“In the current climate, the fall in wages can also be viewed as positive for the economy as it is likely that more lower-income workers are returning to the labour market.

“Overall, it was a good report as it is clear the job market is recovering.”

The major European markets were only marginally higher on a subdued trading day as concerns over US-China trade tensions also forced some downward pressure.

The German Dax increased by 0.66%, while the French Cac moved 0.09% higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones dipped on the opening bell as a rise in the value of the dollar, driven by the jobs report, weighed on American stocks.

Meanwhile, sterling slipped as it was also held back by the improvement in the US greenback.

The pound fell 0.78% versus the US dollar at 1.303 and was up 0.08% against the euro at 1.107.

Property firms largely had a strong session, nudging higher after house prices leapt to a new high in July, amid a surprising spike after the market had been put on pause by the pandemic.

In company news, Rightmove surged higher after it said that demand to both rent and buy homes increased in June and July compared with the same months last year, as the property market opened up from the depths of lockdown.

The online estate agent said pent-up demand was being released as people who were planning to move before the pandemic started house-hunting again.

Shares in the company therefore jumped by 52.8p to 630.6p on Friday.

Rolls-Royce saw its shares dip again after it emerged that its one-time largest investor, ValueAct, has dumped its entire stake in the troubled engineering giant.

It slipped by 0.5p to 252.6p after the San Francisco hedge fund exited amid reports it will look to raise at least £1.5 billion from shareholders.

Standard Life Aberdeen nudged upwards despite the investment firm swinging to a loss for the first of half of the year.

Shares lifted by 1.7p to 265.2p after it chose to hold its shareholder dividend at 7.3p.

The price of oil slid into the red after the Chinese import figures raised concerns about demand, with total exports sliding by 1.4%.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil decreased by 2.18% to 44.48 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Hikma, up 236p at 2,393p, Rightmove, up 52.8p at 630.6p, Melrose, up 3.54p at 101.3p, and Aveva, up 131p at 4,505p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Glencore, down 5.78p at 174.56p, Fresnillo, down 36.5p at 1,294p, BP, down 8p at 287.25p, and Pearson, down 14.8p at 590.2p.

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