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05 Feb 2021 | 08:16

London open: Stocks tread water ahead of payrolls report

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were little changed in early trade on Friday, with investors reluctant to make any big bets either way ahead of the latest US non-farm payrolls report. At 0900 GMT, the FTSE 100 was flat at 6,505.95.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "Europe was largely quiet this Friday morning, hesitant to do too much until this afternoon's US non-farm payroll numbers have been revealed."

The payrolls report is due at 1330 GMT, along with the unemployment rate and average earnings.

"Analysts are expecting a recovery from December's 2020-ending contraction in the jobs market, with the addition of 85,000 jobs pencilled in following a strong ADP figure mid-week," said Campbell. "The unemployment rate, meanwhile, is set to hold steady at 6.7% for the 3rd consecutive month, but with average hourly earnings growth dropping from 0.8% to 0.3% month-on-month."

In equity markets, Burberry among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 after an upgrade to 'neutral' at Goldman Sachs, while Anglo American was boosted by an initiation at buy' at Berenberg.

Beazley surged after it posted an annual pre-tax loss that was smaller than expected. The Lloyd's of London insurer swung to a loss of $50.4m in the year to the end of December from a profit of $267.7m a year earlier as it was hit by $340m of losses from the pandemic, but this was better than consensus expectations for a $106.4m loss.

On the downside, Signature Aviation fell after Global Infrastructure Partners teamed up with rival bidders Blackstone and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to make a $4.73bn (£3.43bn) bid the company.

Specialty chemicals company Johnson Matthey was weaker after being cut to 'underweight' at Barclays.

Outside the FTSE 350, French Connection shares jumped more than 30% after the clothing retailer said it was in talks with two potential suitors.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,505.95 0.03% FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,929.22 0.58% techMARK (TASX) 4,132.97 0.21%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 37.31p 3.32% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 708.20p 2.73% Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,762.00p 2.53% Persimmon (PSN) 2,796.00p 2.19% Polymetal International (POLY) 1,632.00p 1.97% Whitbread (WTB) 3,181.00p 1.96% JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 848.20p 1.82% Compass Group (CPG) 1,434.00p 1.74% British Land Company (BLND) 450.10p 1.67% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,068.00p 1.66%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,900.00p -3.62% Kingfisher (KGF) 280.80p -2.09% Aviva (AV.) 342.60p -2.06% Pearson (PSON) 723.60p -1.82% Vodafone Group (VOD) 134.24p -1.16% B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 559.20p -1.10% BP (BP.) 252.55p -0.94% Unilever (ULVR) 4,030.00p -0.91% BAE Systems (BA.) 473.40p -0.86% CRH (CRH) 3,139.00p -0.85%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Beazley (BEZ) 357.40p 11.27% Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 164.75p 7.02% Capita (CPI) 40.40p 4.74% BlackRock Smaller Companies Trust (BRSC) 1,708.00p 3.39% Micro Focus International (MCRO) 471.20p 3.31% Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 335.00p 3.24% Carnival (CCL) 1,367.00p 3.05% Rank Group (RNK) 137.60p 2.99% Hochschild Mining (HOC) 221.20p 2.88% Just Group (JUST) 82.00p 2.82%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Chemring Group (CHG) 291.00p -3.16% Signature Aviation (SIG) 413.00p -2.87% Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,407.00p -2.22% BMO Global Smaller Companies (BGSC) 143.60p -1.51% Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,086.00p -1.04% Pets at Home Group (PETS) 408.60p -0.92% TP ICAP (TCAP) 200.20p -0.89% F&C Investment Trust (FCIT) 785.00p -0.88% Victrex plc (VCT) 2,318.00p -0.86% IG Group Holdings (IGG) 764.50p -0.71%
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