The FTSE and major European indexes posted gains on Friday, with stocks across Europe looking set to finish the week higher and US stocks also up in early trade.
The FTSE (^FTSE) was up 0.7% by the end of the day while Frankfurt's DAX (^GDAXI) rose 0.8% and the CAC (^FCHI) was up 0.5%. The Stoxx 600 (^STOXX), which tracks European stocks, was 0.9% higher. This marks a run of weeks of gains for European stocks.
The moves follow employment figures from the US. After a quieter autumn, the US unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7%, with the release showing 199,000 new jobs in November. Payrolls were expected to have risen by 180,000 jobs — beating the 150,000 increase in October.
This data is closely watched as an indicator of potential decisions by the central bank on interest rates.
The dollar was also up: "Today’s US payrolls numbers have helped prompt a rebound in the US dollar, as US rate cut expectations get dialled back with yields rebounding strongly from their weekly lows, with the US dollar finishing the week strongly higher with the exception of the Japanese yen," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
In UK hiring news, a poll of recruitment firms by KPMG and REC released on Friday morning showed that starting salaries had risen at the slowest pace in 32 months in November, suggesting cooling salary growth and a cut back in hiring plans.
Other releases for Friday include the UN food inflation index for December and an inflation survey from the Bank of England.
Follow along for live updates as the day unfolds:
Some analysis from Axel Rudolph, Senior Market Analyst at online trading platform IG.
Stock rally continues amid strong US labour data
“Unlike softer US job opening and ADP employment data earlier in the week, US Non-Farm Payrolls came in stronger-than-expected at 199k versus a forecast 180k. 28k of these have been added back to the November data since United Auto Workers strikers re-entered the workforce."
Plethora of central bank meetings ahead
"Employment growth is below the average monthly gain of 240,000 over the prior 12 months but is in line with job growth in recent months while unemployment fell back to 3.7% and average hourly earnings rose slightly more than expected. The US Michigan consumer sentiment index also beat expectations, leading to a probable sixth consecutive week of gains for several global stock markets and soaring US yields from their recent three-month lows. The US dollar pared initial gains, the gold price slipped and the oil price stabilized but still saw its seventh consecutive week of falling prices ahead of next week's Fed, ECB and BOE meetings. "
FTSE risers and fallers
Two of the top three stocks in the FTSE 100 today are grocery-related. Quite apt as we head towards Christmas:
-- Ocado, up 3.4%
-- Sainsbury, up 2.8%
Meanwhile property developers are struggling:
-- Berkeley, down 2.2%
-- Barratt Developments, down 1%
UK high street faces declining footfall despite Black Friday
Significant discounts in the run up to Black Friday failed to rally UK shoppers in November, resulting in another disappointing month for retailers, according to new figures by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.
According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, total like-for-like (LFL) sales in November fell by 0.3% compared to last year’s figures. The results cast further gloom over retail in the important festive period.
The month started positively, with LFL sales increasing by 4.7% in week one. However, this was followed by falling sales in weeks two, three and four despite heavy discounting from retailers becoming more prevalent.
Online sales were particularly poor throughout the month and down by 0.2% last year. While in-store LFL sales grew, this was not enough to offset the negative online performance.
Overnight in the US and Asia
Global stocks failed to find a consensus overnight, with the US broadly up and stocks across Asia mixed.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) closed 0.8% higher on Thursday while the Dow (^DJI) was up 0.2%. Tesla and Apple were among stocks which saw the biggest gains in the Nasdaq (^IXIC) in yesterday's session, which bounded 1.4% into the green.
Over in Asia, Japan's Nikkei (^N225) fell 1.7% after GDP data showed the country's economy contracted by 0.7% in the Q3. Estimates had predicted it would contract by 0.5%.
All eyes will be on the closely watched US jobs report later today.
Good morning from London! Lucy Harley-McKeown here, staring at a sea of red and green (but not in a Christmassy way). Let's get to it.
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