15.30: Britain’s markets retreated following mid-day highs after the release of US jobs data which showed 171,000 jobs were created in October, beating expectations.
'The October employment report was another data point showing resilience in the US economy,' commented Julia Coronado of BNP Paribas, after other positive reports on the US economy this week.
The FTSE 100 was flat in late afternoon trade, losing 0.03%, or 1.4 points, to 5,860 and the Mid 250 index rose 29 points, or 0.24%, to 12,121.
Wall Street also fell on the modest improvement in the country’s job market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.32% to 13,191, the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 0.12% to 1,426, and the Nasdaq Composite index gave up 0.24% to 3,013.
13.10: US jobs figures have given markets a boost, with 171,000 new jobs created in October, beating expectations.
Unemployment, however, rose to 7.9% in October, up from 7.8% the previous month, though the figure can be accounted for as only people who are seeking work are classified as unemployed.
Markets responded positively to the figures: the FTSE 100 took on 0.3%, or 17 points, to 5,879, and the Mid 250 index rose 0.5%, or 61 points, to 12,153.
The figures come ahead of Tuesday’s US presidential election, which will see Barak Obama seek re-election amid the highest rate of unemployment since Franklin Roosevelt.
RBS lags on FTSE 100 as Libor fine looms
09.11: Markets opened lower on Friday morning ahead of pivotal US jobs data, as Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) fell after publishing its third-quarter results.
The bank revealed a £1.38 billion loss before tax in the third quarter as it took a £1.5 billion hit on the value of its bonds and made a £400 million provision for mis-selling payment protection insurance (PPI). It brings the total amount of money set aside by the bank for PPI claims to £1.7 billion.
It also said it expects ‘material fines’ over how Libor and other interest rates were set following talks with regulators, which will start soon. A number of its staff have been dismissed for misconduct over the matter, and the bank is under investigation in the US and UK. RBS shares shed 3.3p, or 1.2%, to 284p in early Friday trade.
The FTSE 100 dropped 0.16%, or 10 points, to 5,852 and the Mid-250 index added 0.1%, or 12 points, to 12,103.
US jobs figures, which are set to be released at 12.30, will be the last major data point to be released before the presidential elections next Tuesday.
Insurer Admiral Group (ADML.L) fell 58p, or 5.3%, to £10.81, to become the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, as its third-quarter turnover fell by 2% to £570 million. However, turnover so far this year is up 3% to £1.74 billion and the group is on track to meet 2012 forecasts.
Fund group Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L) took on 8.1p, or 2.4%, to 343p, to sit at the top of the FTSE 100 index, as analysts at Société Générale increased their target price on the stock from 300p to 365p.
It’s also reported that Standard Chartered (STAN.L) is nearing resolution with US investigators into its business with Iranian customers. The bank is expected to pay a fine of $300 million (£186 million) and the shares dipped 3.7p, or 0.25%, to £14.79 on the development.
Direct Line Group (DLGD.L) shed 1.8p, or 0.9%, to 197p as it reported its first results since being spun off by RBS last month. It is halfway to making £100 million in cuts to costs as quarterly profits fell.
Former Citywire Top Stock Meggitt (MGGT.L) shed 3.3p, or 0.9%, to 381p as the engineering group forecast revenue growth of 4-7% this year and its third quarter revenues were in line with last year.
Gold miner Hambledon Mining (HMB.L) soared 0.5p, or 42%, to 1.7p as its board recommended a cash offer from African Resources to take on a 60% stake in the group