FTSE 100 Index struggles as US jobs slowdown hits European markets
The London market struggled to remain in positive territory as European markets took a hammering following a dismal economic update from America.
The FTSE 100 Index gave up earlier gains but remained 21.3 points higher at 6206.9, as a major slowdown in the US jobs market dealt a blow to a possible June interest rate hike from the US Federal Reserve.
The worse-than-expected US non-farm payroll figures showed 38,000 new jobs were added in May - the lowest amount for more than five years.
The unemployment rate also tumbled to its lowest point since November 2007, dropping to 4.7% from 5%, according to the United States Department of Labour.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4%, while Germany's Dax and the Cac 40 in France dropped more than 1%.
Sterling rose 0.8% against the dollar at 1.453, as the US currency weakened in the wake of the disappointing employment data from the US.
It was also helped after Britain's services sector regained some strength last month, but remained under pressure from Brexit fears.
The closely-watched Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed a reading of 53.5 in May, up from 52.3 in April when activity rose at its slowest pace for more than three years. A reading above 50 signals growth.
The pound was 0.8% down against the euro at 1.282.
In stocks, silver and gold miners were in the ascendency after investors sought out safe havens when the US dollar took a tumble.
Silver miner Fresnillo was the biggest riser on the market, up 79p to 1123p, while gold miner Randgold Resources came in 400p higher at 6250p.
Mining giants Glencore and Anglo American also raced ahead, stepping up 7.1p to 135.7p and 30.4p to 617.9p respectively.
But Britain's biggest supermarkets took a tumble following Thursday's "sell" rating from Deutsche Bank.
Tesco was down 7.5p to 162p, Sainsbury's dipped 10.7p to 246.2p and Morrisons fell 7.5p to 188.9p.
BP rose 5.5p to 358.6p, as price rises signal that outages in Canada and Nigeria continue to eat into oversupply across the industry.
The oil giant also said it will pay out 175 million US dollars (£121.3 million) to investors over claims that its management misled them about the severity of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Royal Dutch Shell lifted 17.5p to 1683p.
Broker ICAP jumped up 6.4p to 42p, after it said it had won a 65 million US dollar (£45 million) contract to provide technology for China's main fixed income and foreign exchange trading system, giving it a major break in the world's second-largest economy.
The firm said its electronic foreign exchange and fixed income business - EBS BrokerTec - would provide technology to China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS).
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Fresnillo up 79p to 1123p, Rangold Resources up 400p to 6250p, Glencore up 7.1p to 135.7p, Anglo American up 30.4p to 617.9p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 Index were Tesco down 7.5p to 162p, Sainsbury's down 10.7p to 246.2p, Morrisons down 7.5p to 188.9p, and Standard Life down 6.4p to 327.2p.