London open: Stocks edge up as investors eye payrolls report

Fri 06 Dec 2019

LONDON (SHARECAST) - (Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Friday as investors awaited the release of the latest US non-farm payrolls report.
At 0830 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 7,167.82, while the pound was down 0.1% against the dollar at 1.3138 and 0.2% lower versus the euro at 1.1829.

Signs of progress in Sino-US trade relations helped to boost the mood after China's finance ministry said it would waive import tariffs for some US soybeans and pork.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Though the main focus for the markets at the moment is confusing trade deal situation, with the UK election as a local sideshow for British investors, this afternoon does provide some distraction in the form of the latest non-farm jobs report.

"The headline figure is set to jump from 128k to 181k month-on-month, with wage growth up 0.3% from 0.2%, and the unemployment rate steady at 3.6%."

The November payrolls report, unemployment rate and average earnings are all due at 1330 GMT.

In equity markets, Associated British Foods was the standout gainer after the Primark owner said it still expects earnings per share growth for FY2020. In a statement ahead of its annual meeting, the company said its sugar division would benefit "materially" from the rise seen last year in EU sugar prices, while the grocery division was expected to see "another year of strong profit and margin growth".

Phoenix Group Holdings was also in the green after saying it had made a 3.2bn cash and shares offer for Swiss Re's UK life insurance closed book consolidator ReAssure Group.

British Airways and Iberia parent IAG was lifted by an initiation at 'buy' at Peel Hunt and an upgrade to 'outperform' at MainFirst, while Marks & Spencer was higher on the back of an upgrade to 'neutral' at JPMorgan.

On the downside, Glencore was under the cosh again, having suffered heavy losses on Thursday after the Serious Fraud Office said it was launching an investigation into suspected bribery at the miner.

Housebuilder Berkeley Group was trading lower after it said profits in the first half fell by nearly a third and Petrofac was hit by a downgrade to 'hold' at Jefferies.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,167.82 0.42%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,779.96 0.35%
techMARK (TASX) 4,009.11 0.25%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,536.00p 1.56%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 556.40p 1.42%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 176.05p 1.18%
Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) 747.20p 1.11%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 668.60p 1.09%
Kingfisher (KGF) 209.30p 1.06%
Next (NXT) 6,820.00p 1.04%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,834.00p 1.02%
3i Group (III) 1,063.50p 1.00%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 279.00p 0.98%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Glencore (GLEN) 214.45p -1.13%
BT Group (BT.A) 188.76p -1.04%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,663.50p -0.51%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,582.00p -0.50%
Centrica (CNA) 79.72p -0.28%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,538.00p -0.24%
Croda International (CRDA) 4,892.00p -0.16%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,219.50p -0.12%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,491.00p -0.08%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,604.00p -0.08%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 174.25p 4.78%
Sirius Minerals (SXX) 3.62p 2.90%
Coats Group (COA) 73.20p 2.88%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 198.45p 2.72%
Elementis (ELM) 171.90p 2.26%
RHI Magnesita N.V. (DI) (RHIM) 3,926.00p 2.19%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 142.75p 2.15%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,360.00p 1.95%
Sanne Group (SNN) 652.00p 1.87%
Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,376.00p 1.85%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 311.20p -2.75%
888 Holdings (888) 156.00p -1.83%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 780.00p -1.54%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 169.00p -1.46%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 177.60p -1.44%
Hays (HAS) 164.40p -1.44%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 318.20p -1.27%
Stagecoach Group (SGC) 129.40p -1.22%
Marston's (MARS) 127.60p -1.16%
Quilter (QLT) 149.00p -1.10%
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