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26 Jan 2021 | 08:04

London open: Stocks gain despite uninspiring jobs data

(Sharecast News) - London stocks edged higher in early trade on Tuesday despite the release of uninspiring UK jobs data and further weakness in the travel and leisure sector. At 0900 GMT, the FTSE was up 0.4% at 6,666.48.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said the FTSE's gains were "peculiar" given the grim jobs data and suggested that investors were trying to "force a positive angle on a jobs report that saw redundancies at a record high, and the unemployment rate hit 5% for the first time since mid-2016".

"Yet that rise in the unemployment rate still leaves it short of the 5.1% forecast. The average earnings index surged past estimates, at 3.6% against the 2.9% estimated. And, in the most recent piece of data, December's claimant count change reading came in at just 7.0k, a fraction of both the 38.1k seen the month prior, and the 47.5k analysts had expected.

"It helped the FTSE that the pound took the heat out of the negative elements of the report, falling 0.3% against the dollar and 0.2% versus the euro."

In equity markets, caterer Compass Group was the top gainer on the FTSE 100 after an upgrade to 'neutral' from 'underperform' at Exane.

Opioid addiction treatment maker Indivior surged after Reckitt Benckiser said it will withdraw a $1.4bn claim against the company. Indivior will pay the consumer goods giant $50m to end the legal battle related to a US probe into opioid addition.

Crest Nicholson rallied after the housebuilder reinstated its dividend despite swinging to a full-year loss.

On the downside, Rolls-Royce slumped after saying it expects £2bn in cash burn this year, with widebody engine flying hours falling to 55% of 2019 levels compared with 70% previously forecast as new variants of Covid-19 and enhanced travel restrictions created short-term uncertainty.

JD Sports Fashion was also weaker after it confirmed it is exploring additional funding options with a view to increasing its flexibility "to invest in future strategic opportunities", and said this may involve a non pre-emptive equity placing.

Trainline was knocked lower by a downgrade to 'neutral' at JPMorgan Cazenove.

More broadly, travel and leisure stocks were under pressure again amid worries about Covid restrictions, with British Airways parent IAG, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, InterContinental Hotels, Tui, easyJet, Carnival, SSP and Wizz Air all lower.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,666.48 0.42% FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,377.08 0.13% techMARK (TASX) 4,166.65 0.36%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Compass Group (CPG) 1,351.50p 2.27% Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,942.00p 1.69% 3i Group (III) 1,153.50p 1.67% Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,799.00p 1.63% Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,636.50p 1.58% Croda International (CRDA) 6,576.00p 1.58% Pearson (PSON) 728.80p 1.50% Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 252.70p 1.45% Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 306.80p 1.29% Diageo (DGE) 2,931.50p 1.26%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 88.76p -9.43% International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 135.50p -3.21% Glencore (GLEN) 255.15p -1.77% JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 803.80p -1.74% Whitbread (WTB) 2,994.00p -1.35% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,508.00p -1.18% Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,461.50p -0.88% Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,350.00p -0.85% Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,644.50p -0.81% M&G (MNG) 189.55p -0.63%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Indivior (INDV) 144.70p 13.14% Hammerson (HMSO) 20.32p 5.28% PureTech Health (PRTC) 405.50p 4.24% Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 316.60p 3.40% BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,670.00p 3.09% UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 804.00p 3.01% JTC (JTC) 608.00p 2.70% CMC Markets (CMCX) 392.50p 2.61% Micro Focus International (MCRO) 392.80p 2.51% St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 371.00p 2.20%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Trainline (TRN) 379.60p -6.27% TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 337.70p -3.04% easyJet (EZJ) 707.80p -2.85% FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 980.00p -2.78% VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 418.50p -2.67% Carnival (CCL) 1,155.50p -2.49% Cineworld Group (CINE) 67.36p -2.38% Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,002.00p -2.20% SSP Group (SSPG) 300.80p -2.15% TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 226.20p -1.78%
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