- US jobs report misses forecasts by a mile
- Fed now in focus on stimulus speculation
- Tullow gains on Statoil rumours
- Mining stocks track metals higher
- Barclays boosts forecasts for UK and US GDP
techMARK 2,801.83 +0.98%
FTSE 100 6,739.94 +0.73%
FTSE 250 16,191.73 +1.52%
UK markets remained resilient on Friday afternoon by managing to finish with decent gains despite a shockingly poor US jobs report dampening stocks on Wall Street.
Tullow Oil rose strongly today on speculation that it could be a takeover target, while stocks in the heavyweight mining sector put in a strong performance as metal prices advanced.
The FTSE 100 ended the day up 48.6 points at 6,739.94, but did come off its intraday high of 6,769 after the US data.
US jobs shock
Non-farm payrolls increased at their lowest monthly rate since 2008 in December, rising by just 74,000. This was significantly lower than the 241,000 gain in November and well below analysts' forecasts, with poor weather conditions largely to blame.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly declined from 7% to 6.7%, but the fall was attributed mainly to a drop in the participation rate to its lowest level in over three decades.
"Both non-farms and unemployment figures seem too far off estimates to be an accurate gauge of the US labour market, but traders don't know which one to write off. Investors are beginning to wonder whether the Federal Reserve began reducing its stimulus package a little on the early side," said David Madden, Market Analyst at IG.
Poor data from the UK seemed to slip under the radar this morning with investors shrugging off the news that UK construction output and industrial production missed forecasts in November.
In fact, this afternoon Barclays Research upped its forecasts for growth in the US and the UK for the coming year, to 3.0% (from 1.5%) and 3.1% (from 2.3%), respectively.
According to the Office for National Statistics, construction output growth eased to 2.2% year-on-year from 5.1% the month before, missing the forecast for a pick-up to 7.5%. Meanwhile, industrial production rose by 2.8%, up from 2.6% previously but below the 3% increase expected.
Tullow jumps, miners broadly higher
Bid speculation surrounding Tullow gave the oil stock a lift today after rumours did the rounds yesterday that Norwegian group Statoil is considering an offer for the firm. Tullow had a strong day yesterday after an upgrade from HSBC to 'buy'.
Mining stocks were in demand this afternoon as metals rose across the board on a weaker dollar: gold prices were up 1.2%; silver was 2% higher; while copper gained 1.1%. Glencore Xstrata, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Anglo American were among the best performers in the sector.
Glencore Xstrata was also boosted by Barclays which raised its rating on the stock to 'overweight', saying that it was among its top picks in the industry.
House builder Persimmon was a high riser after Goldman Sachs kept a 'buy' rating, with analysts saying they were "increasing our estimates and price target for Persimmon following its strong fiscal year trading update [on Wednesday]".
However, chip designer ARM Holdings was one of the heaviest fallers after Goldman decided to take the company off its 'conviction buy' list. The stock fell sharply yesterday after being hit by a Deutsche Bank downgrade.
Banks were also out of favour with domestic lenders Lloyds, RBS and Barclays finishing in the red.
On the FTSE 250, digital media group Perform surged as investors welcomed the resignation of Chief Financial Officer David Surtees following a profit warning by the company last month.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 909.50p +7.63%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,354.00p +6.28%
Royal Mail (RMG) 583.00p +3.92%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,473.00p +3.66%
Carnival (CCL) 2,552.00p +3.28%
William Hill (WMH) 382.60p +3.10%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 318.75p +2.94%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,712.00p +2.88%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 812.00p +2.72%
Old Mutual (OML) 193.90p +2.38%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 83.04p -2.60%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 972.00p -2.56%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 346.00p -1.54%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 356.90p -0.92%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,084.50p -0.87%
Tesco (TSCO) 321.80p -0.79%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,239.00p -0.72%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,310.00p -0.45%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 234.65p -0.45%
CRH (CRH) 1,619.00p -0.37%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Homeserve (HSV) 282.50p +9.07%
Synthomer (SYNT) 284.30p +7.04%
Debenhams (DEB) 81.55p +7.02%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 560.00p +6.67%
Perform Group (PER) 250.00p +6.07%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 666.50p +5.96%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 830.00p +5.33%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 90.30p +5.12%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 120.00p +5.08%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,399.00p +4.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Merlin Entertainments (MERL) 367.30p -2.70%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 186.90p -1.63%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 69.35p -1.42%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 628.00p -1.41%
Greencore Group (GNC) 226.00p -1.31%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 112.30p -1.14%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 747.00p -1.13%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,500.00p -1.03%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 485.00p -0.88%
Amlin (AML) 435.70p -0.86%