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Investors buy shares ahead of US jobs report

by Chris Marshall on Oct 05, 2012 at 09:48

Investors buy shares ahead of US jobs report

European stock markets rose ahead of a report on the US labour market, with mining companies leading Britain’s FTSE 100 higher to build on a week of gains.

The move higher follows gains on US and Asian indices overnight, boosted by upbeat reports on jobless claims and factory orders and after the European Central Bank said it stands ready to buy bonds.

Vedanta (VED.L) was the top riser on the UK's blue chip index, climbing by 2.9% to 1095p. ENRC (ENRC.L) shares rose by 2.7% to 323p and Evraz (EVRE.L) was up 2.6% to 250p, despite a cut to its target price from analysts at Barclays to 253p from 257p. The overall FTSE 100 index climbed by 13 points or 0.2% to 5841, mirroring stock market gains across Europe.

Conversely interdealer broker Icap (IAP.L) was suffering, with a loss of 1.8% to 327p. Tesco dropped back another 1.5% to 313p after this week’s poor set of first half numbers.

Telecoms group KCom (KCOM.L) was the biggest faller on the FTSE 250 after a trading update in which it stated that it had performed in line with expectations during the first half of the year but chief executive Bill Halbert warned of continuing 'slower new business investment decision making'. Andrew Darley at Finncap described the company's update as ‘suitably sombre’, adding that ‘KCOM remains in a relative position of strength’ and maintaining his buy recommendation on the shares.

In economic news, the Bank of Japan kept its overnight rate unchanged between zero and 0.1%, and maintained its asset purchase fund at 55 trillion yen. Meanwhile, the minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting – where it announced an open-ended QE programme – emphasised the need to create economic growth ‘strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions’.

The nonfarm payrolls report due this afternoon is expected by economists (according to a poll by Reuters) to show a rise of 113,000 jobs in September after the disappointing August rise of just 96,000 positions.

The oil price slipped lower ahead of the report, with Brent crude futures down 0.4% to $112. The euro, which has been rising in recent days after two weeks of losses, was off by 0.1% to $1.299

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