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05 Feb 2021 | 16:30

London close: Stocks finish mixed as US nonfarms disappoint

(Sharecast News) - London stocks closed in a mixed state on Friday, as investors digested the latest nonfarm payrolls data out of the United States, which disappointed for the second month on the trot. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.22% at 6,489.33, while the FTSE 250 was 1.24% firmer at 21,066.87.

Sterling painted a mixed picture, last trading 0.42% stronger on the dollar at $1.3730, but falling 0.21% against the euro to €1.1404.

Nonfarm payrolls stateside increased by 0.4%, or 49,000, month-on-month in January, following a downwardly revised 227,000 print for December.

The country's unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell to 6.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It added that the market continued to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it.

However, the unemployment rate came in at 6.3%, just shy of the 6.7% expected on the Street.

In January, notable job gains in professional and business services, and in both public and private education, were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, health care and in transportation and warehousing.

"Seeing as the latest ADP and initial jobless claims updates were a lot better than expected, there were high hopes for today's announcement," said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"On a yearly basis, average earnings came in at 5.4%, unchanged on the month as the last report was revised up from 5.1% to 5.4%.

"A high earnings metric could be a sign that a relatively large number of lower income workers have left the labour market."

In equity markets, travel and leisure stocks were on the rise, with Premier Inn owner Whitbread up 5.13%, pub group Mitchells & Butlers rising 8.94%, and cruise operator Carnival 3.28% higher.

Burberry gained 2.68% after an upgrade to 'neutral' at Goldman Sachs, while Barratt Developments was 2.99% higher after an upgrade to 'buy' at Liberum.

Anglo American was boosted 2.81% by an initiation at 'buy'' by Berenberg.

Beazley surged 14.94% 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 that was better than consensus expectations for a $106.4m loss.

"The insurance group swung to a loss because of claims connected to cancelled events," David Madden noted.

"As bad as the headline results were, investors are looking ahead to the rest of the year and they are taking the view that 2020 was unique.

"Vaccinations are being rolled out and a company like Beazley stands to benefit a lot from a return to some form of pre-pandemic life."

On the downside, Signature Aviation fell 2.92% after Global Infrastructure Partners teamed up with rival bidders Blackstone and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to make a $4.73bn (£3.43bn) bid for the company.

Outside the FTSE 350, French Connection shares surged 64.22% after the clothing retailer said it was in talks with two potential suitors.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,489.33 -0.22% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,066.87 1.24% techMARK (TASX) 4,114.11 -0.25%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Whitbread (WTB) 3,280.00p 5.13% Glencore (GLEN) 259.20p 4.77% NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 170.35p 3.97% British Land Company (BLND) 458.90p 3.66% Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,570.00p 3.42% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 710.00p 2.99% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,361.00p 2.87% Anglo American (AAL) 2,484.00p 2.81% Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,345.80p 2.80% Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 1,280.20p 2.74%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,882.00p -4.22% Experian (EXPN) 2,637.00p -3.05% DCC (DCC) 5,700.00p -2.83% National Grid (NG.) 851.40p -2.38% Aviva (AV.) 341.80p -2.29% Ashtead Group (AHT) 3,848.00p -2.19% Unilever (ULVR) 3,980.00p -2.14% Smith (DS) (SMDS) 372.20p -2.13% Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,660.00p -2.01% Ferguson (FERG) 8,706.00p -1.98%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Aggreko (AGK) 844.00p 32.91% Beazley (BEZ) 369.20p 14.94% Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 353.50p 8.94% FirstGroup (FGP) 84.90p 8.43% Rank Group (RNK) 144.40p 8.08% C&C Group (CCR) 255.00p 8.05% Trainline (TRN) 484.20p 7.89% Micro Focus International (MCRO) 488.90p 7.19% Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 270.00p 6.72% Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 215.00p 6.70%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

CMC Markets (CMCX) 417.50p -3.80% Network International Holdings (NETW) 329.60p -3.46% Airtel Africa (AAF) 79.00p -3.07% Signature Aviation (SIG) 412.80p -2.92% Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 2,049.00p -2.80% Sanne Group (SNN) 563.00p -2.43% Homeserve (HSV) 1,044.00p -2.34% Diploma (DPLM) 2,350.00p -2.25% Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,410.50p -1.98% Hill & Smith Holdings (HILS) 1,330.00p -1.92%
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