- US jobs provide temporary boost, but gains trimmed
- Data unlikely to change Fed's stance, says analyst
- Financials Admiral and RBS disappoint
While the closely-watched US jobs report provided a bit of a bounce in early afternoon trade, the Footsie had pared gains to finish flat by the close as the initial euphoria surrounding the figures died away.
US non-farm payrolls rose by 171,000 last month, well above the 125,000 expected by the market consensus. The unemployment rate did increase, by 10 basis points to 7.9%, but this was expected.
What's more, upwards revisions were made to previous months' figures which added "more lustre to an already-solid report", said analyst Michael Gapen from Barclays Research.
The Footsie jumped to an intraday high of 5,888 shortly after the data was released, but quickly came pulling back to its starting point after US stock markets opened. "Despite the better numbers the initial gains proved to be somewhat short-lived as markets fizzled out like a damp firework ahead of the weekend and the outcome of next week's US elections," said market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
Barclays Research's Gapen said that the labour market is exhibiting good momentum heading into Q4, "although we would not be surprised to see some volatility in upcoming jobless claims and payrolls as a result of Hurricane Sandy. We do not see the momentum in hiring and decline in the unemployment rate in recent months as changing the calculus for the Fed at this stage."
In domestic, the UK economy is not expected to contract this year, but ill-timed fiscal consolidation in Europe and other external risks continue to pose risks, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said in its latest quarterly forecasts.
The British economy is now expected to grow by 0.1% in 2012, which marks a slight upwards revision on its previous forecasts. Next year however the external environment is no longer being forecast to make a contribution to aggregate demand, leading the NIESR to reduce its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) downwards, to 1.1%, as net trade will not make any positive contribution.
FTSE 100: Financials provide a drag
Car insurance firm Admiral dropped after seeing a 2% decrease in third-quarter turnover. "Little has changed since the half year. The UK car insurance market is cyclical and we are in the softer part of the cycle with premium rates coming down," said Chief Executive Henry Engelhardt.
Banking giant RBS fell after reporting a statutory loss before tax of £1.26bn for the three months to September 30th after taking a £1.46bn charge in own-credit adjustments and a £400m bill for PPI redress. Investec maintained its 'sell' rating for the stock this morning, saying that it had expected a loss of £1.0bn.
Lloyds fell lower following its sharp rise on Thursday on the back of its third-quarter update, which showed figures were in line with expectations. Meanwhile, sector peer HSBC was also under the weather after the Financial Stability Board said that it (along with Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase) must hold additional capital in order to be able absorb possible losses.
Airlines group IAG was the top performer this afternoon, up three per cent over 168p. Technical analysts at Charles Stanley said today: "A close above 168p would suggest that this line is giving way and would amount to a 'trading buy' signal."
Oil giant Tullow was also a high riser after JPMorgan Cazenove upgraded its stance on the shares
to 'overweight'. In contrast, engineering giant Weir was under the weather after Jefferies cut its rating to 'hold' and supermarket group Morrisons fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to 'underweight'.
Shares in luxury brand Burberry were making gains ahead of its first-half results on November 7th. Seymour Pierce has raised its target price and maintained its 'buy' rating this morning, saying that risks to forecasts are now 'on the upside'.
FTSE 250 movers: Shares in Bumi rocket on proposal news
Mining group Bumi advanced after saying it has appointed Rothschild Goup as its financial adviser with immediate effect to evaluate the proposal received from Long Haul Holdings.
Shares in Dixons rose once again, boosted by the news that its main High Street rival, Comet, is likely to go into administration. Also Seymour Pierce has said that John Lewis's strong start to their new Windows 8 range is a positive sign for Dixons.
Meanwhile, hotels group Millennium & Copthorne fell despite seeing RevPAR rise 2.6% in the third quarter, with London enjoying an Olympic boost.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals also fell after saying it is considering the future of its Generics business as its Eatontown facility in New Jersey continues to be dogged by compliance issues.
Gold miner Centamin has once again taken a hit, one day after shares rebounded after returning to the market following a suspension from trade. Earlier this week the firm's shares plummeted after media reports claimed that an Egyptian court had labelled its Sukari mining concession, its primary source of revenue, as void.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 169.10p +3.55%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,253.00p +3.13%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,445.00p +2.70%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,456.00p +2.68%
GKN (GKN) 216.70p +2.22%
Capita (CPI) 737.50p +2.08%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 762.00p +2.08%
Evraz (EVR) 243.30p +2.06%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,392.00p +1.79%
Carnival (CCL) 2,539.00p +1.72%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,081.00p -5.34%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,557.00p -2.44%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,751.00p -2.40%
Pennon Group (PNN) 701.00p -2.30%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 281.30p -2.05%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,361.50p -1.87%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,370.00p -1.72%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 638.00p -1.62%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,599.00p -1.48%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,325.00p -1.48%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bumi (BUMI) 283.00p +13.97%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 25.84p +10.52%
Chemring Group (CHG) 277.30p +6.41%
Homeserve (HSV) 235.20p +5.38%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 354.90p +4.47%
RPS Group (RPS) 237.40p +4.12%
FirstGroup (FGP) 208.40p +3.99%
PayPoint (PAY) 826.50p +3.38%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 135.40p +3.36%
Spectris (SXS) 1,818.00p +3.30%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 60.50p -9.84%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 480.00p -6.16%
Lancashire Holdings (LRE) 848.00p -3.03%
Debenhams (DEB) 120.00p -2.99%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 311.40p -2.93%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 62.60p -2.49%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 738.50p -2.06%
Savills (SVS) 414.90p -1.98%
Hunting (HTG) 779.00p -1.95%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 37.31p -1.82%