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FTSE 100 LIVE: European and US stocks mixed after US jobs beat

FTSE Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. Technology stocks are slumping Wednesday as several of Wall Street's most influential stocks feel the downside of ultrahigh expectations. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The FTSE closed nearly flat on Friday, while US stocks were mixed at the end of week defined by central bank rate decisions and tech stock earnings. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The FTSE, Europe and the US markets saw a mixed day on Friday at the end of a week defined by a cluster of central bank interest rate decisions, where both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve opted to keep rates on hold, and tech stock earnings.

  • The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) closed the day out almost flat with European indexes such as the DAX (^GDAXI) and CAC (^FCHI) up 0.3% and 0.1% respectively on Friday following a raft of tech earnings in the US.

  • The pan-European STOXX 600 (^STOXX) was 0.1% higher.

  • The S&P 500 (^GSPC) had risen 0.7% by the close in London, the Dow (^DJI) was down 0.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) jumped 1.2%.

  • Facebook and Instagram parent Meta (META) is among tech giants that reported quarterly results on Thursday. Its stock was up more than 20% by mid-morning after it announced its first dividend.

  • The company outpaced Wall Street estimates for its fourth-quarter earnings, posting $40.1bn in revenue and earnings of $5.33 per share.

  • Jobs data came in stronger than expected surging 353,000, up from the expected 180,000.

Follow along for live updates:

LIVE COVERAGE IS OVER10 updates
  • From our UK desk

    A couple of interesting stories that came through today from our UK desk:

    Best UK mortgage deals of the week: Find out the latest mortgage rates and deals from HSBC, NatWest, Santander, Barclays and more.

    Zopa Bank CEO on consumer learnings: UK-based Jaidev Janardana joined Zopa Bank as COO in 2014 before becoming CEO a year later.

  • US rate cut chat ramps up

    Reactions to those deadly jobs numbers are coming in:

    Larry Tentarelli, chief technical strategist, Blue Chip Daily Trend Report says:

    "The short-term downside is higher bond yields, reduced Fed rate cut expectations and possibly stock market volatility. We believe the Fed’s first-rate cut will be in the May-June 2024 window. Overall, we view a strong jobs market as a net positive for both the economy and the stock market. We are buyers on any short-term weakness in stocks."

    Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial says:

    "No matter how you distill the payroll's surprise — indeed shocking — headline number of 353,000 new jobs defies expectations for a labor market right sizing or coming into balance.

    A strong labor market underpins consumer confidence and spending.

    Bond yields ticked higher and despite strong numbers from Meta and Amazon markets are going to recalibrate expectations for the first cut."

    Alex McGrath, chief investment officer for NorthEnd Private Wealth

    "Well, I think we can officially kiss a March rate cut goodbye, and more than likely a May. Just a run of the mill four sigma beat on a jobs number to go along with higher-than-expected wage growth will send yields higher today and leave forecasters guessing on Fed action."

  • US stocks higher in premarket

    A mix of upbeat tech earnings and positive jobs data have done this to US stock futures:

    S&P 500 (ES=F) up 0.3%

    Dow (YM=F) down 0.2%

    Nasdaq (NQ=F) up 0.5%

  • US jobs beat

    New jobs data just dropped:

  • Apple of investors' eye?

    Apple revenues beat forecasts for Q1, coming in at $119.6bn, led by the iPhone which saw revenue of $69.7bn.

    Apple's results were, however, marred last quarter by regional revenue from China, Greater China revenue came in well short of forecasts at $20.8bn, indicating that the squeeze on sales is starting to have an effect.

    Apple management seems concerned that's going to continue, as this quarter is expected to be similar to last year.

    Elsewhere in the business, iPad revenues hit $7bn, Mac revenues were at $7.8bn, and wearables hit $12bn, falling slightly short of forecasts. Services were also short of forecast at $23.1bn

    Michael Hewson of CMC Markets says:

    "The next few months are likely to be challenging for Apple having to deal with regulatory issues in Europe over its App Store, while its Watch has been the subject of issues with respect to its blood oxygen feature."

    "The launch of the Vision Pro at $3,500 is unlikely to shift the dial when it comes to sales given how costly it is. Apple is launching some new iPads which may prompt an uptick in sales in this area over the next quarter, but the iPhone remains its key revenue earner so the slowdown in China will be a concern, however the Indian market could offer a way out on this front."

    Stock is down around 2.8% in premarket trade.

  • Rate cut? Not so fast.

    Six of nine MPC members at the Bank of England earlier this week opted to hold interest rates at recent highs.

    Matthew Ryan, head of market strategy at Ebury shares his view:

    “We see yesterday’s communications as consistent with our view that we may have to wait for a little while yet before the BoE is ready to pull the trigger on looser policy. The tweak in the communique that removed the line regarding additional tightening is the first clear step on the path towards lower rates. It is pretty clear, however, that most committee members will need to see far more signs of disinflation, and probably an easing in wage pressures, before committing to cuts, and we remain of the opinion that a first cut is unlikely until at least the June MPC meeting.”

  • Meta on the up

    The main bar today is going to be on tech earnings, with Facebook parent company Meta on the up.

    Stock is now more than 16% higher in premarket trade which is quite the coup for the veteran social media company.

    Over the last four quarters Mark Zuckerberg's behemoth has beat EPS by some margin. In September, it was 82.4% higher than expected. December saw a beat of more than 7%.

    Fourth quarter earnings were $40.1bn, beating the predicted $39.18bn and up 25% year-over-year.

    The bottom line is that the pivot to AI products has been one of the winning factors. AI remains one of Meta's main investment areas in 2024.

    The company also announced it will pay a 50 cent-per-share dividend to investors for the first time, and has authorised a $50bn share buyback program. This will net CEO Zuckerberg around $700m.

  • US stocks on Thursday

    With earnings season in full sing, US indexes were reaping the benefits of the optimistic tone. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed 1.3% higher, and the Dow (^DJI) was up 1%.

    The Dow's ascent represented a fresh high, erasing losses from a day earlier when markets were jittery about the prospect of prolonged high rates following remarks from the Fed.

    On Thursday Meta, Amazon and Apple reported results, following other megacap stocks such as Microsoft earlier in the week (more on those earnings later).

    Today, markets are looking to the jobs report as a measure of the overall health of the economy.

  • Overnight in Asia

    Stocks were broadly down in Asia overnight with Chinese stocks weighed down by the prospect of further legislation from the US targeting Chinese biotech firms. WuXi Biologics and WuXi Apptec fell around 20% as the story played out.

    Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng (^HSI) finished 0.3% lower, while the SSE Composite (000001.SS) was 1.5% lower by the end of the day.

    The Nikkei (^N225) remained on the up, closing out the day 0.4% higher, buoyed by late tech earnings in the US.

  • Good morning from London!

    Good morning, Lucy Harley-McKeown here, rounding the week off with a final live blog after a big week of central bank decisions and tech earnings. It's a grey day in London and FTSE 100 futures are up. Let's get to it.

Watch: Meta share price surges as Facebook's parent company announces dividend for first time