Belfast Telegraph

FTSE returns to growth as strong US jobs data lifts markets

The FTSE 100 closed 77.74 points higher at 7,155.38 at the end of trading on Friday.

The London markets jumped as they were buoyed by strong US jobs data (PA)
The London markets jumped as they were buoyed by strong US jobs data (PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

The London markets sparked back to life, jumping higher after strong US jobs figures helped to provide a dreadful trading week with a more positive finale.

The FTSE 100 closed 77.74 points higher at 7,155.38 at the end of trading on Friday.

Stock markets across Europe closed the day in the black after they cheered a broadly positive US non-farm payrolls report.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “This week fears grew for the state of the global economy as disappointing services and manufacturing data from Europe plus the US spooked traders, which prompted heavy losses on global stock markets.

“Friday’s largely upbeat US jobs report was a welcome change, which encouraged bargain hunting.

“Some of the fear that dominated the markets has evaporated as the wheels are not coming of the US economy.”

Traders were also more optimistic after news that Chinese firms have been buying up US agricultural goods, cooling concerns over trade tensions between the nations.

The European markets closed higher as the view on the state of the global economy appeared to slightly improve.

The German Dax increased by 0.73% while the French Cac moved 0.91% higher.

The Dow Jones opened higher as it also jumped on the strong jobs news, which saw the unemployment rate fall to from 3.7% to 3.5%, a 50-year low.

Sterling slipped lower as it failed to keep up with strong performances from both the dollar and euro.

The pound was 0.17% down versus the US dollar at 1.231, and down 0.23% against the euro at 1.121.

In company news, BP shares ended the day higher despite its chief executive, the boss brought in to turn around the oil giant following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, announcing his retirement after 40 years in the industry.

Bob Dudley, 64, said he would step down as chief executive following the company’s annual results in February and formally quit the following month.

Shares in BP closed up 10p at 494.6p on Friday.

Elsewhere, shares in spirits giant Diageo edged higher after workers at its Scottish distilleries accepted a pay deal after suspending potential strike action.

Members of Unite and GMB across Scotland’s distilleries and bottling plants had been scheduled to stop working for 10 days in a series of rolling strikes last month.

Shares in the company rose 9.5p to 3,288.5p at the close of trading.

Engineering giant Meggitt saw shares lift after it was awarded a 48 million US dollar contract with the US military.

Shares in Meggitt jumped by 10.6p to 621.4p.

The price of oil pushed higher as, similarly to shares, the positive US jobs news moved the general tone from a cautious one to a far more upbeat one by the end of Friday.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slumped by 0.69% to 58.04 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 19.2p at 496.2p, Smurfit Kappa Group, up 74p at 2,404p, Melrose, up 5.8p at 192.8p, and DS Smith, up 9.8p at 335p.

The biggest fallers on the index were NMC Health, down 37p at 2,501p, Imperial Brands, down 19.4p at 1,820.6p, Taylor Wimpey, down 1.5p at 149.6p, and Hargreaves Lansdown, down 12p at 1,816.5p.

PA

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