Home Stock & Shares London equity markets close higher on US jobs data

London equity markets close higher on US jobs data

by Jonathan Adams
London equity

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 2.25% at 6,484.30, and the FTSE 250 was 2.26% higher at 18,229.32

London equity markets closed firmly green on Friday, with travel-related shares pacing the gains as investors digested the latest US non-farm payrolls report.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 2.25% at 6,484.30, and the FTSE 250 was 2.26% higher at 18,229.32.

Sterling was stronger against both of its major trading pairs, rising 0.75% on the dollar to $1.269, and advancing 1.2% on the euro to €1.1243.

It has been a big week for the travel sector, with the prospect of a surge in travel for July boosting sentiment amid a flight to value over recent days, said analysts at IG. With the likes of IAG, Carnival, and easyJet leading the FTSE 100 higher, we are continuing to see traders favour those heavily-hit stocks in a bid to find returns given the outperformance within growth stocks.

In fresh data out of the US Department of Labor during the afternoon, non-farm payrolls in the States in fact grew last month, by 2.509 million.

Economists had incorrectly anticipated another eight million job losses on top of the prior month’s now downwardly-revised 20.687 million.

The unemployment rate fell back alongside, also unexpectedly, from 14.7% for April to 13.3% in May – much better than consensus forecasts for 19.5%.

Average weekly earnings also fell, however, by 1.0% on the month, in line with expectations.

Go home 2020 you’re drunk, was my immediate reaction when today’s US payrolls report numbers hit the wires, said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson. In the space of four weeks we’ve seen history made as the US economy posted a record number of job losses in one month, only to be followed by a record number of job gains in the following month.

Meanwhile, the latest survey from GfK showed consumer confidence fell in May to its worst level since January 2009 as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to weigh.

A ‘flash’ report by GfK using data gathered between 20 and 26 May showed the long-running consumer confidence index fell by two points to -36, with four out of five of the measures that make up the index down.

That was just three points below the historic low of -39 in July 2008.

Against a backdrop of falling house prices, soaring jobless claims, and with no sign of a rapid V-shaped bounce-back on the cards, consumers remain pessimistic about the state of their finances and the wider economic picture for the year to come, said Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK.

The only bright spark in the numbers is for the major purchase index with a six-point fillip, pointing to latent demand among shoppers across the UK despite most outlets remaining shuttered, he said.

Meanwhile, a survey from Halifax showed house prices edged lower in May as the full impact of Covid-19 lockdown measures was felt.

House prices were 0.2% lower on the month, but this was an improvement on the 0.6% decline seen in April and the 0.3% fall in March.

On the year, prices were up 2.6% in May following a 2.7% increase the month before.

This is the third successive monthly fall, though more modest than in April, and reflects a continued loss of momentum following what was a strong start to the year, said Halifax managing director Russell Galley. Though it should still be noted that with a limited number of transactions available, calculating average house prices remains challenging and increased volatility is to be expected.

In equity markets, airlines were the standout gainers, with budget offering easyJet up 6.99% and British Airways and Iberia parent IAG 13.64% higher.

Cruise operator Carnival rallied 19.84%, as Premier Inn owner Whitbread rose 8.79%

Retailer WH Smith, which operates in airports and train stations, also racked up strong gains of 12.02%.

Luxury car maker Aston Martin Lagonda added 9.09%, having suffered heavy losses in the previous session when it announced the axing of 500 workers as it cut back production after the pandemic led to a sales slump.

On the downside, waste management company Biffa was in the red by 6.86% after its full-year results.

This article is for information purposes only.
Please remember that financial investments may rise or fall and past performance does not guarantee future performance in respect of income or capital growth; you may not get back the amount you invested.
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