ADVFN Morning London Market Report: Friday 6 December 2019

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London open: Stocks edge up as investors eye payrolls report

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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.

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 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 boosted by 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.

 

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