FTSE closes down as focus turns to US jobs report

London’s top index closed the week slightly in the red, as a quiet day for UK news was eclipsed by happenings across the pond.

The FTSE 100 dipped 1.89 points to 7,123.

Eyes were on the US jobs market on Friday, as Washington released statistics on non-farm payrolls (NFP).

The news that the economy had added 850,000 jobs showed that America is on its way to recovery, analysts said.

But IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp said investors were not yet changing their behaviour in anticipation that the Federal Reserve might change its stance on quantitative easing and interest rates.

“Today’s NFP number is certainly moving in the right direction, gaining by yet another solid amount, but with earnings still only rising by a small amount and the headline unemployment rate actually ticking up there was no rush away from stocks and towards assets likely to benefit from an earlier-than-expected tightening of policy,” he said.

US markets were trading up after the report. The S&P 500 had gained 0.4% while the Dow Jones rose 0.2%.

“In London there was a slightly less celebratory mood,” said AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson.

She added: “Perhaps investors are distracted by the weekend of sport that lies ahead.

“The more domestic-focused FTSE 250 was the more successful of the two big indices today, and those hospitality businesses among their number will take heart that the biggest job creation in the US has come from their sector and the US is slightly further along the recovery road.”

Banks led the charge lower, with Standard Chartered, Lloyds, HSBC and Barclays all crowding in the day’s bottom 10 performers.

Other losers were BP and Shell, as the oil giants were faced with a stagnant oil price. A barrel of Brent cost 75.85 dollars when the day was closing in London, barely changed on the day before.

The Dax in Germany rose 0.3%, while France’s Cac index was flat.

The pound rose 0.1% to buy 1.3793 dollars, but was flat against the euro, buying 1.1642.

In company news, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said that its chief executive Dame Emma Walmsley is the right person to lead the business even after it jettisons the consumer healthcare unit where she cut her teeth.

Her role has been questioned by some, including a thinly veiled reference to her experience by Elliott Management, a major investor. Shares were left virtually unaffected by the news.

Meanwhile, investors in London’s public markets will have a new toy to play with as CMO announced plans for a £95 million float next week.

The online building materials business said that it plans to raise £45 million from the float and will invest in growth and pay down its debts.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Informa, up 16.4p at 529p; Polymetal, up 37p at 1,599.5p; Aveva, up 85p at 3,894p; Anglo American, up 57.5p at 2,947p; and British Land, up 8.8p at 514.6p.

The biggest fallers were Standard Chartered, down 11.1p at 456.5p; NatWest, down 4.5p at 202.4p; Barclays, down 2.94p at 172.36p; Lloyds, down 0.795p at 46.825p; and HSBC, down 6.7p at 416.65p.