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FTSE pares gains after US services data

Britain’s FTSE 100 trims early gains after disappointing US services data offset better-than-expected unemployment data.

FTSE pares gains after US services data

Britain’s FTSE 100 trimmed early gains on Thursday after disappointing US services data offset better-than-expected unemployment figures, one day before a key jobs report from the world’s biggest economy.

The UK index of blue-chip shares edged up 0.15%, or eight points, to 5,767 and the All Share index took on 0.13%, or four points, to 2,999. See the FTSE’s performance and the index’s top winners and losers.

US jobs report

‘It was easy to attribute the March decline in the Non-Manufacturing Index to monthly volatility. It is more difficult to dismiss two consecutive declines,’ said Paul Edelstein, US economist at IHS Global Insight.

‘Clearly, the non-manufacturing side of the economy has hit a slow patch even while the manufacturing side experiences solid growth. We’ll have to see how long this will last.’

Wall Street retreated in the wake of the data, which dampened hopes for the US labour market stoked earlier in the day by a report which showed a bigger-than-forecast decline in jobless claims last week. Tomorrow, official data on US non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate are due, amid concerns that US economy is slowing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average eased 0.09% to 13,257; the Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.12% to 1,401; and the Nasdaq Composite index weakened 0.41% to 3,047.

Draghi comments

The euro, meanwhile, trimmed losses versus the dollar after the European Central Bank held interest rates steady at a historic low of 1%, and Mario Draghi, the bank’s president, dampened hopes for more near-term monetary stimulus.

In late afternoon trading, the euro eased 0.5% to $1.315, up from a day low of $1.309.

Most stockmarkets elsewhere in Europe drifted lower: Germany’s DAX index slid 0.24% to 6,694 but France's CAC 40 index lost 0.09% to 3,223; but the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares inched up 0.06% to 1,044.

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