1630: Close UK stocks ended the week on a buoyant note, although below the 6,700 level surpassed earlier in the afternoon. The day revealed that US non-farm payrolls rose by 192,000 during March, against the consensus estimate for an increase of 200,000. Meanwhile, new car registrations in the UK surged by 17.7 per cent in March to reach 464,824 units, their best level since March 2004, the SMMT revealed. UK house prices dropped by 1.1 per cent in March to 178,249 pounds, the third fall over the past 15 months. The FTSE closed up 46.41 points at 6,695.55, up 79.97 or 1.21 per cent on the week.
1557: Tesco has confirmed that Laurie McIlwee, its Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director, has decided to step down from the board and resign from the company. After 14 years with the company, he "has agreed to remain in his role to ensure a smooth handover to his successor", the supermarket giant said. The FTSE is up 50.40 points at 6,699.54.
1547: The FTSE 100 is now up 51 points at 6,700, a level not seen in nearly four weeks, with heavyweight mining stocks now among the best performers after the US data. Anglo, Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Rio Tinto are rising strongly, helped by metal prices which have gained across the board. Gold and silver are up 0.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent, while copper is up 0.3 per cent.
1413: Global stock markets have extended gains after the US jobs data with the FTSE 100 now trading 34 points higher at 6,683, heading for a weekly gain of over one per cent. Futures on Wall Street are pointing to an increase of 0.4-0.5 percent on the three main US benchmarks. Lee Mumford, Trader at Spreadex, said that the upwards revisions to January and February estimates 'showed that the effect on the labour market during the harsh winter weather was less severe than previously thought'.
1330: Non-farm payrolls increased by 192,000 in March, compared with an upwardly revised 197,000 in February and lower than the 200,000 forecast, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7 per cent, surprising analysts who had expected a fall to 6.6 per cent.
1300: Ahead of the Bureau for Labor Statistics data due out at 13:30, consensus forecasts are for a 200,000 increase in payrolls in March, up from 175,000 the month before, while the unemployment rate is expected to have fallen to 6.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent. Stock futures Stateside are pointing to small gains of 0.2-0.3 per cent on Wall Street ahead of the data.
1110: RBS is trading higher (up 0.2 per cent) on the news that it has appointed Ewen Stevenson as its new CFO, following the resignation of Nathan Bostock in December. Stevenson joins the bank from Credit Suisse where he is currently the Co-Head of its Investment Banking division in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Shore Capital Analyst Gary Greenwood said: 'We view this as positive news as it removes uncertainty around the position and should therefore enhance investor confidence in the company's ability to deliver on its strategic plan.'
1007: Shares of easyJet are now leading gains on the Footsie after announcing that it carried 4.8 per cent more passengers during the month of March. Following a small 'throw-back' yesterday towards the 1,780p mark the shares
are today moving higher again and at record highs.
0838: UK stocks have begun the day slightly in the blue, despite the overnight falls on Wall Street. Pearson is in the lead early on following an upgrade out of Jefferies, to 'buy' from 'hold'. On the other side of the ledger are shares of Marks&Spencer, which Goldman Sachs has added to its 'conviction sell' list. UK house prices dropped by 1.1 per cent month-on-month in March, versus consensus forecasts for an increase of 0.6 per cent. US non-farm payrolls data, scheduled for release at 13:30, will be the main focus of attention. FTSE 100 up 26 to 6,675.