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Markets surge to new highs as US jobs figures impress

The FTSE 100 takes another step towards 6,500 after the latest US jobs data smash forecasts.

Markets surge to new highs as US jobs figures impress

(Update) The FTSE 100 extended its lead after the latest US jobs figures smashed expectations.

Nonfarm payrolls leaped 236,000 last month, way ahead of economists' forecasts of 160,000, pushing unemployment to a four-year low of 7.7%.

The FTSE 100 traded 28 points or 0.5% higher at 6,468 and the US Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22 points or to a fresh all-time high of 14,351.

On currency markets the dollar surged leaving the pound trailing 0.5% lower at $1.4941 and the euro 0.9% down at $1.2986.

So far this year the Dow Jones has soared 9.3% with the UK's blue chip index up nearly 10%.

The figures are great news for markets because they show the underlying strength of the US economy. Yet because the increase falls short of the 250,000 average monthly rise needed to reduce unemployment, they do not signal that the Federal Reserve will stop its ultra loose monetary policies, which are the main factor behind this year's impressive stock market rally.

FTSE edges closer to 6,500 as investors await US jobs news

09.38: The FTSE 100 edged closer to 6,500 this morning as investors await the latest round of data from the US.

Asian shares rose overnight, supported by a gain in US equities on strong jobs data and expectation-beating Chinese export figures. 

Positive economic news has taken the Dow Jones past its nominal pre-crisis high in recent days, and in the UK the  FTSE 100 has tested its own records.

Shortly before 9.30am, the FTSE 100 stood at 6,470, up 0.49%.  Financials led the move up, with an upgrade on asset manager Schroders seen as a key boost and HSBC Holdings clinching the top spot after adding 2.32% in early trade.


But despite the latest gains, analysts have been quick to point out that markets face some significant risks over the hours ahead.

The latest round of US unemployment data will be released at 1.30pm and if the reading is positive there should be a rally in the dollar, as the US creeps closer to its goal of calling time on stimulus.

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